Mindfulness for Teachers

I’m reading Patricia Jennings’ book Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom. The content is important every day of the school year, but as we approach the last nine days at my school I find it even more meaningful. The only thing I can truly control is myself, and if I can show up for my students and colleagues in a way that shows I am 100% present, I truly believe this can be the best end of the year yet!

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Maximizing the Impact of Small Group Instruction

Small group instruction has the potential to accelerate learning for students if used with intention and flexibility. In this post, I will summarize small group considerations that were discussed in Heggerty’s Exploring the Power of Small Group Literacy Instruction webinar. The focus of the webinar is on foundational literacy instruction. Heggerty calls these “truths” and aims to dispel “myths” around small group instruction. I call them considerations because teaching is a science and teachers make decisions based on the students in front of them and their understanding of best practices in literacy.

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Talk Time

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about discourse, oral language, and the amount of talk kids engage in throughout their days at school. Two resources that I share in this post support the importance of providing meaningful, plentiful opportunities for kids to talk for various purposes.

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The Equity Transformation Cycle: Listening to Students to Empower Them and Improve Teaching Practices

Understanding the student experience is key to designing culturally relevant instruction. Our students know best what works for them. By seeking student feedback, we empower them and build stronger relationships. In this post, I want to describe how the Equity Transformation Cycle described in Street Data has helped me think more deeply about my students. It has helped me feel more creativity and curiosity about teaching. 

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Developing Strong Student to Student Partnerships

As the school year begins, many of us are talking about how to build strong student to student partnerships in our classrooms. When students collaborate in effective partnerships, learning increases and a sense of belonging is nurtured. In this post, I want to share some partnership ideas.

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Envisioning Language

This summer I had the privilege of attending part of a Responsive Classroom® training. This opportunity helped strengthen my understanding of how to nurture conditions that include the four domains of a responsive classroom: engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmentally responsive teaching. A key strategy to support all four domains is Envisioning Language. In this post I want to summarize some of what I learned about such language.

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Understanding Students’ Identity: Starting the Year With a Student-Centered Focus

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s book Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy offers many excellent ideas designed to learn about the identities of our students and plan for joyful learning experiences. In this post, I want to highlight some ideas, especially those experiences that are powerful to explore at the beginning of a new school year in order to create classrooms where students feel seen, heard, valued, and loved. When students feel belonging, they thrive and can engage in deep learning. In addition to Dr. Muhammad’s ideas, I will explore ideas I have used with students and that colleagues have shared with me.

“Knowing self prepares young people to live joyfully in the world…. Young people need to know themselves as well as others who may be different from them…. This knowledge teaches young people how to love and live with differences as they grow older.” ~Cultivating Genius

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