On Courage & What's Holding Us Back from What We Really Want (Episode 49)

       Today, we’re gonna talk about haircuts, courage, & what’s holding us back from doing what we really want.
       Watch the YouTube video here >>> https://youtu.be/GHsFJ-QNKHw
       Today’s conversation is going to start with a story about my (Lisa's) haircut and courage, then move into what this could mean for us teachers in our classrooms and the level of grit our students have.
       Back in high school and college my hair was basically long and straight. I could blow dry it and put hot roller curlers in it and it looked great. I was often complimented on my hair. My hair has always held curls and in college hair dressers started mentioning that I had ringlets on the underneath part of my hair near my neck. As I have aged and had children, my curls have taken over my hair.
I have wanted to cut my hair short for a long time. Drew Barrymore’s haircut in the movie Mad Love or Meg Ryan’s hair in French Kiss have been memorable in my mind for a long time. I tend to grow my hair out for a year or two and then cut it to shoulder or maybe chin-length hair. I love the idea of easy to style, sassy, messy, and cute hair. I had never actually had the guts to cut my hair as short as I wanted to try. I would always talk myself into cutting it short but ask hairdressers if they thought I could pull off a short cut and I’d always come home with a cute bob cut but deep down I longed for shorter. I had this realization that I was trusting the expertise of hairdressers but they also had their own preferences.
       After my last time of going to a place determined to cut it short and chickening out, I kept looking at my hair thinking it could be shorter and I could pull it off and still feel pretty. So I waited until I went back to California to a friend that I trusted and had her adventure with me to see what happened when she cut my hair and I trusted her ability to style it cute. She did a fabulous job. I came home and kept squealing at my reflection. I didn't post any pictures to social media because this haircut wasn't meant for others, it was for me.                     
       JONATHAN: This got me thinking about this on a bigger scale. This is about so much more than haircuts. This is one example of something we really want to do but are afraid of. And I think we teachers all have at least one thing we’d love to do in our classrooms or careers but for one reason or another, we’re afraid of it. So with your haircut … what were you really afraid of? 
       LISA: I was afraid my hair would look ridiculously bad and people would judge my sanity. I want to look pretty. 
       Those are two different answers. 
       That is my answer though. 
       So were you more afraid of looking bad personally or more afraid of what other people would think?  What was actually holding you back from getting your haircut the way you wanted to try?       
       I didn’t want a mom haircut. I didn’t want people making fun of me for my choice. I didn’t want to deal with, if people made fun of my haircut and then I couldn’t emotionally handle it, being seen as weak or having a weak self-esteem. When I was growing up I heard a message that if you took sarcasm, jokes, or friendly ridicule too seriously then you needed to lighten up and not take it so seriously. My decision to cut my hair was, deep down, a risk of realizing how weak or strong I might be in response to others' reactions. 
        So there’s a lot more to your fear than just your hair might look bad?
        Yeah.
        So this is where your story about a haircut becomes a larger conversation for all of us teachers and students. What things have we been wanting to do for a long time but haven’t done because of fear? It’s helpful to chase these fears all the way back to their source, so we can decide.
        Yeah, so the source of my fear was feeling weak and not confident in myself. When I finally said, “Screw it! I’m gonna cut my hair,” was when I decided to ignore the fear and take the risk. It was really me saying, “I can handle my own personal struggle if my hair looks crappy and I think I’m emotionally able to handle criticism about my hair, because it is hair and it will just grow back. I don’t care if people think I’m crazy or judge my sanity based on this choice.”
        So were you afraid of what they’d say or what you thought they’d say?
        Both, I think. But as I think about it now, the people who are close to me would be totally supportive, even if it looked horrible. So I don’t have to worry about my close people.
        So it’s more the people that you don’t really know?
        Yeah, there is a ring of people, outside of my close friends, that are more than acquaintances and I was worried about what they might say about me. My way of controlling the situation and what people might think or say about me was to stay with the acceptable, safe choice. I’m realizing that our fears about all that might be keeping us from trying so many things that we might love. 
        Like your haircut.
        Yes! *squeeeee*
        How many years have you wanted to cut your hair short?
        A long time. So I could have had this happy haircut for so many years.
        I love that point. How many things are we afraid of that we could have already done and been enjoying all these years?
        Let’s move this over into the teaching world. So a question might be, “What have I wanted to try in my classroom that I could try this year?” “Why haven’t I tried it?” “What am I afraid of?”
What is the root of that fear? It could be fear of looking incompetent
       Being sensitive of what others think is normal. It is needed to not live our lives selfishly. 

       Conversation of the Day: What is a thing you really want to do … but haven’t?
 FREE Universal Book Report Teaching Resource ... sign up for our Email Newsletter! Graphic organizers and analysis activities for any novel. Perfect for reading groups or literature circles! Get it Now! >>> http://eepurl.com/bGNTgX #litcircles #readinggroups #readingcircles #bookreports
       Hop on over to watch the video and share your thoughts in the conversation.

Hook Your Students from the Start of Each Novel Study (Episode 52)

       Today, we’re going to talk about Class Novel Studies and how to hook student learners from the Get-Go.
       Watch the YouTube video here >>> https://youtu.be/-9CgdiILxl0
Maybe you’ve been there before … you’re about to start a 6-week study through a novel and you’re looking for a way to get them into it … to get them emotionally engaged … to get them to not be bored. So we want to give you a quick practical tip to get things started off right.
Death by Classroom: How to save our meetings from the doom of boredom       Patrick Lencioni’s book DEATH BY MEETING (Read the other blog we mentioned in the vid ... on Death by Classroom and how to use conflict to liven up classroom management.) talks about the most interesting thing to us humans … and yes, students are humans too … the most interesting thing to us is ………….. Conflict! We love it. We love to disagree and fight and discuss and joust and all that. So when thinking about how to start your novel off, think how can I engage them in healthy conflict to start?        Another super important way to engage them is to activate prior knowledge and opinions. People love sharing their opinions and what they already know. They love feeling like they’re in on the conversation and have something to contribute.
So you're looking for that perfect activity to hook the students from the start of a novel study? We're here to help. Today, we talk through the 3 crucial elements to any engaging introduction activity.        And since we’ll be studying the novel for a while, wouldn’t it be great if we could foreshadow the important themes and events and plant seeds in their minds?!
       We start all of our novel units the same way, and we want to teach you how. Our method does all of these: instigating healthy conflict, engaging prior knowledge and opinions, and foreshadowing compelling themes that will come up in the story.
       We think through the major themes and events in the story. Then we craft 9 statements that assert something to be true. Some samples:
  • It is okay to lie to people. (The Giver)
  • People are the result of their choices, not the environment they grew up. (The Outsiders)
  • Some kinds of people are trash compared to others. (To Kill a Mockingbird)
  • Everyone should have to work just as hard, no matter how rich they are. (The Great Gatsby)
 FREE Universal Book Report Teaching Resource ... sign up for our Email Newsletter! Graphic organizers and analysis activities for any novel. Perfect for reading groups or literature circles! Get it Now! >>> http://eepurl.com/bGNTgX #litcircles #readinggroups #readingcircles #bookreports
       The purpose here is to make them choose a side. No maybes here.
       This gets really fun when you get the learners up and moving around the room. 1st, have them make their 9 choices on their own. Then have them stand up and move physically to different sides of the room depending on their opinion on each question. Agree … over here. Disagree … over here. (We like to use a PowerPoint with each prompt on it to project so we can examine and analyze all the words we disagree on).
       I love this activity because they all have opinions and in this fun action format, they all really love sharing their ideas. As the teacher, you’ll need to moderate the environment with respect, but encourage their honest opinions. I’m always amazed at how my middle school students would think through these issues.
The Great Gatsby learners will enjoy this prereading activity that gets thinking about and discussing (and maybe even engaging in some friendly arguing!). Then after the novel is done, learners will revisit these questions to consider how their minds have stayed the same or changed based on the events, characters, and themes they've just read about and felt.        And allow an organized argument. Let people from each side share their thoughts. Then ask for people who disagree. The more conflict the better.        This usually takes a solid 45 minute class period for my students. And they’re still discussing things on their way out of class.
       As you work through the story, these topics will come up and you can reference the discussion from this day.
       Then after you finish reading the novel, revisit these topics and see how their opinions have changed. They will be surprised at how the story has influenced and informed their beliefs. It’s pretty powerful.
       So a quick recap: to hook students into a novel, (1) stir up conflict, (2) engage their prior knowledge, and (3) foreshadow the big themes that will come up. Any activity you do that does all 3 of these is bound to hook them from the start.       Conversation of the Day: What activities do you love doing to hook students at the start of a novel study?
So you're looking for that perfect activity to hook the students from the start of a novel study? We're here to help. Today, we talk through the 3 crucial elements to any engaging introduction activity.
 FREE Universal Book Report Teaching Resource ... sign up for our Email Newsletter! Graphic organizers and analysis activities for any novel. Perfect for reading groups or literature circles! Get it Now! >>> http://eepurl.com/bGNTgX #litcircles #readinggroups #readingcircles #bookreports
       Hop on over to watch the video and share your thoughts in the conversation.

Teaching Onomatopoeias - How to Not Kerplunk the Topic (Episode 51)

       Today, we’re gonna show some practical ways to teach onomatopoeias … so you don't kerplunk the topic!
       Watch the YouTube video here >>> https://youtu.be/PxqxMtlPBYI
 Teaching Onomatopoeias - How to Not Kerplunk the Topic (Episode 51)
We want to start of with a huge welcome to all the new teachers in our community. If you've already subscribed, awesome. If this is your first time with one of our videos or blogs or you've watched/read a couple and we've been able to give you value for your teaching life, would you take a moment to click the subscribe button. It means a lot to be a part of a community like you all.
       So today's topic: Onomatopoeias! A simple kind of figurative language that can be so much fun to engage students with.
       But like with any topic, if we're not thoughtful about our approach, we can kill it and make it boring.
       Onomatopoeias, besides being the hardest figurative language to spell … They are any word we invent to communicate how to spell a sound. We have hundreds of them and use them all the time.
       I doubt any of us have any problem with our kids learning this topic. The question is: how do we make it more fun?! And this one is easy.
 Teaching Onomatopoeias - How to Not Kerplunk the Topic (Episode 51)       It's one of the 5 senses: Sound. And sounds are interesting … Anything sensory is interesting.
       So use this to your advantage! Start with the easy ones for them: Boom! Smack! Thump! And here's the key … Actually make the sound on different things in the room.
       And then have the kids make the sounds. They love this! This is gonna be a loud lesson, and don't let that scare you.
       Have a couple of containers of water filled with different levels. Drop some marbles in them and have the students write out the sound each one makes. Splunk! Plink! Kerplunk! Sploop!
       Then maybe let the students pick some things they want to drop in. Record the sounds.
       Let the class pick some objects that you're gonna smack the desk with. Record the spelling of the sounds.
       Then keep going. Split them into groups and have them brainstorm as many sounds that aren't connected with smacking things or dropping into water. Give them 30 seconds for a practice round. Let them share the results. Then give them a longer couple of minutes and see what they come up with. Encourage them to make the noises to discover.
       You'll love what they come up with, and they'll have so much fun. My favorite is plblbplbblblplb!!! I tell the class it's my favorite and write it on the board. They always look at me confused and ask what the heck that is. Then I stick my tongue out at them and blow to make the sound. They laugh. They love this stuff!
 Teaching Onomatopoeias - How to Not Kerplunk the Topic (Episode 51)       We just wanted to take this quick time to show you possibly a new way to look at teaching a topic to draw the fun out and make a lesson fun and memorable.
       And it may seem contradictory, but fun lessons like this actually help with classroom management. It's why the old Batman series was great. And it's a great activity to do when you're being observed by your admin or on Parent Visitation Day.
       We’ve created an activity that you subscribers can get in our teaching store. It's free for this week because you're amazing, so go grab it! (Link in the description.)
       Conversation of the Day: Think up an onomatopoeia and spell it out down in the comments. Leave a short explanation if you need to.
 FREE Universal Book Report Teaching Resource ... sign up for our Email Newsletter! Graphic organizers and analysis activities for any novel. Perfect for reading groups or literature circles! Get it Now! >>> http://eepurl.com/bGNTgX #litcircles #readinggroups #readingcircles #bookreports

Teaching Onomatopoeias - How to Not Kerplunk the Topic (Episode 51)
       Hop on over to watch the video and share your thoughts in the conversation.
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