Click Here For Free Blog Backgrounds!!!
Blogaholic Designs

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Teaching Fellow Institute of Charlotte

This year I was selected to attend a symposium with the Teaching Fellow Institute. This was an amazing experience that I can't wait to share with the staff at my school. It was a 4 day event at the beautiful VanLandingham Estate in Charlotte, NC. It included not only CMS teachers but also teachers from several private schools in the area. What an amazing way to network! Every day I tried to take away at least 3 things so I would like to share these with you guys. Day 1 The focus of this week was mindfulness. On day 1 we had a wonderful speaker John Davis who spoke on intentional leadership. One powerful statement he said at the beginning was are you here or there. Here being present, aware, focused...there being thinking about things to do, worrying, etc. This one statement really made me wonder how many times to I go to meetings and I'm there. How many times do I speak to children at school and I'm thinking about the agenda for today or what I need to teach next. How many times am I there and not here with my own children and family. Just that one sentence was so powerful. Another major take away is making sure you set priorities thinking of your impact as a house. You have to have a solid foundation in order to add layers above, and taking care of your self is the foundation. I've always been told this by friends, coworkers, and family members but I am the worst about putting everyone family and work before I do anything for myself. So I had to set goals to make this happen. My goal this year is to go to the gym 3 days a week after school. I will keep you updated how that goal progresses.
So in thinking about putting yourself first, in order to make the biggest impact you need to know what renews you. So I began thinking about when I get in spring break fever what will get me back to where I am at the beginning of the school year. For me those include time with family, making sure I get enough rest, and making sure that I have time to just have fun and play. So as the school year gets started and we reach that time of year when we just need a break, it is important to know what we need to rejuvenate. Day 2 & 3 Dr. Amy Saltzman led the next 2 days of our institute. To be completely honest with you these were very hard days for me because I really had to slow down. Day 2 she led us through several meditative exercises being mindful of how we breath, how we feel, and where those feelings reside in ourselves. I am a person who enjoys interaction with people and I like to be going and doing things. I had a true hard time sitting in silence and meditating without the social interaction piece. However, in the true spirit of things as I said before I found 3 take aways to try to apply this year. First the exercise help me be aware when my feelings start. So I learned that your feelings work on a curve and when you reach the top of that emotion you are not able to be creative, think rationally, and this is where we tend to react. The goal however is to respond. So when you start feeling that anxiety, frustration, anger, or whatever the feeling is being aware and recognizing I am getting angry. Then making a decision what am I going to do with this feeling. Just the act of saying I am angry or frustrating and recognizing that feeling is very powerful. Second creating an environment in the classroom where all feelings are acknowledge will be such a powerful tool. When the students come in every morning, giving them a chance to say how they feel at the door is one way to give them a chance to acknowledge their feelings. Teaching them how to know when those feelings arise as they are getting upset, angry or frustrated will be a powerful tool. Imagine if you children could be able to say to you I am getting very frustrated because this doesn't make sense and letting them know it's ok to feel that way, how powerful would that be in creating a classroom environment! Not only that but as a teacher how would that impact your teaching for that student. Sometimes our students get to the top of their feelings curve this is where they shut down, react, and cause classroom disruptions. Trying to head off their feeling before they can't control them can really change a classroom environment. The last thing I took away from these days were just to be mindful of what is going on around me. Taking that time to slow down and not always feel like I need to do 10 things. As I do a task, I'm going to try to be mindful of what I'm doing giving that task my full focus before I move onto the next. Day 4: Collaboration This was a day where we were able to collaborate with our colleagues. We shared what worked in our classroom and created an amazing list of resources and tips to take away from this day. I will share with you the notes from the k-2 group. Creating and Maintaining the Classroom Community How to have a successful beginning of the year? A common theme for all of our ideas was developing relationships with students and procedures that allow teacher and students to work together to create a community that empowers the students to be active learners. Here are ideas for set up this type of community: Kagan- Cooperative Learning Structures-including social skills and student talk Responsive Classroom Creating relationships through Direct Modeling and being deliberate in modeling procedures for your classroom. Whole Brain Teaching Multisensory approach to teaching meeting every kids needs that is not a program based program. Every student is engaged in their learning through gestures, collaborating, and critical thinking. There are free resources and videos online. Quick Ideas Family Board- Bring in pictures of their family and then during the year take pictures of the students and add them to the board. • Create a timeline of things that have happened during the year. Students bring in pictures and then add them to the timeline that is pre-hung in the classroom. • Classroom Currency combing with a partner to earn something for the class • Compliment chainHave you Fill a Bucket Today? (book to read to class in the beginning of the year) • Give me an H- handshake, high five, or a hug As you can see this was an amazing symposium and professional development opportunity. I hope you were able to take a few things away from what I shared.