Thursday, January 12, 2017

Angela Watson Free Podcast

Happy New Year California Reading Association Friends!

Did you see Donalyn Miller in Visalia this past November at CRA's PDI?  Post a take away or two if you did.  If not, you really missed an inspiring keynote session!!

My favorite “take aways” were Donalyn's video vignettes.  There were 6th graders who changed from non-readers to confident readers.  There were those whose stamina had grown from fake reading to reading for 30 minutes or more, groaning when they had to stop.  There were kids who originally hated reading that loved reading after just a few weeks in Donalyn's class.  No wonder Donalyn got a standing ovation from us at CRA's PDI!  We were in awe!!
Don't miss this fall's PDI.    Save the Date!  October 20-21, 2017 Pacific Palms Resort Keynote Speaker: Dynamic Danny Brassell
Now for this year's Book Club focus.  Angela Watson, a National Board Certified Teacher, started the Cornerstone website to share ideas and free resources on the practical aspects of running a classroomAngela published 4 books for teachers. The latest is Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day…No Matter What.  

In January 2015, Angela launched a weekly podcast to inspire teachers to get energized for the week ahead!  If you’re new to podcasts, they’re essentially a talk radio show.  At a quick 10 minutes per episode, Truth for Teachers is perfect for staring off your Monday morning commute with positivity and encouragement.  

Go to link to listen to or download any of these free podcasts to take with you wherever you go.  Need a semester unit for $70 to advance on the salary scale?  Listen to 3 different podcasts and make 3 comments.   Interested?  Email me for more information:

Happy 2017!

Lynn Gurnee, Past CRA President


  1. Hi Lynn,
    Thanks for your new post on Angela's podcasts and Cornerstone Website.
    I'll check them out and get back to you!
    Best, Joanne

  2. February Blog: Gain Energy from Kids Rather than be Drained.
    I agree with Angela: teachers need to make sure they build a strong connection with their students. Building that strong connection is a great way to get to know who your kids are and their interest. This way the teacher can incorporate the kids interests throughout the school year. Or it can also be used as a way to figure out what is happening in their student's life that may or may not be affect their education.
    In my first grade classroom we sit in a circle and talk about a topic on Monday mornings. The topic could be what did you do this weekend, what's your favorite season, sport, book, etc. This helps the students get to know each other, their likes, and dislikes. This information is very useful as a teacher because I can use the information through out the lesson plans and that way those kids can be more into the topic we are covering. This is also helpful so the teacher can get to know each student individually. Maybe you find out a student doesn't live with their family. This could affect their education but at least you as the teacher know what is going on outside of the class and can help that student in a different way.
    Connecting with your students benefits you as the teacher and your students. It benefits you because you learn about your students. It benefits your students because they get comfortable with you and participate more in the class since you will be incorporating their interests into your lessons.

  3. Gain Energy From Kids Rather Than Be Drained, February Blog
    It was great listening to Ms. Watson because after teaching 20 years it is easy to take some things for granted. One that should never be ignored is building and nurturing relationships. I feel that kindergarten teachers have the advantage in that most five and six years old are open to sharing their interests and daily life. Armed with this information we can then incorporate their interests into making them feel comfortable and accepted.
    In addition, instead of always seeing the child who misbehaves as someone who needs punishment we can use the trust that has been established to show the child that there are other ways of dealing with their stresses and that there are people who will accept because they are not a bad child but they have made "not so good" choices.
    Having a personal connection helps us become better teachers by showing acceptance through incorporating the children's things like and by knowing when they are going through stressful situations thus creating a winning situation for all involved.

  4. Ok this podcast, Gain Energy from Kids Rather than Being Drained, was a good reminder of what science has taught us: Energy is never lost only moved. Our personal connections with our students make it possible for the energy to move towards us. I know that I try to connect with my "sweet" 1st graders for various other reasons like classroom management and now I have 1 more good reason. In the classroom energy is a two way street. I really enjoy Angela's podcasts and always find her insight to be valuable. I plan to use her tips as often as possible.

  5. This podcast, "How to prioritize teaching tasks when everything seems urgent " was great! What an awesome saying "we teach students not standards". This is so true and we often get so worried about what we are supposed to teach that we forget that it is really about "Who" we are teaching. I loved the way Angela separates the urgent from the important and I especially liked when she tells us to write lists. I need to start doing this since muti- multi tasking has me on overdrive. Lol She points out that it takes up space in our brain that we could be using to be productive. I also agree with her when she says if you start something finish , like grading papers because you do get in a rhythm and it saves time. These podcasts are really helpful because Angela points out things that should be obvious but we are juggling so much that we often can't do it with out tips and reminders. Teaching standards is important but meeting our student's needs is urgent.

  6. Thanks for posting Joanne, Jasmine, Gregoria and Jovita.
    *. It was great to hear how you incorporate Angela's topic into your classrooms Gregoria & Jovita.
    *. So true Jasmine that Angela points out things that should be obvious but since we are juggling so much, we often can't do it with out tips and reminders.
    *. Also loved your comments that energy is never lost only moved; personal connections with students help the energy move toward us since energy is a two way street.
    *. You all gave us much food for thought!!
    Fondly, Lynn Gurnee, CRA Past President

  7. Truth for teachers-S4ep15 How to undo your classroom management mistakes
    -This podcast is something I have implemented every year I have been teaching. I always start the year off with the same rules and classroom management tactics but soon discover I always need to change them. Classroom management always needs to be reflected on and changes need to be made to fit the needs of your class every year, as I have learned no year is ever the same as another. For me it’s not about the change but making sure from the very first day that I make my rules and expectations of every student clear and make sure I enforce those rules. I can add and change things but my expectations of the students never change and because of this I have had great success in my classrooms with classroom management, kids feeling safe in class, and building strong relationships with my students.
    -Teresa Haun

  8. Truth for teachers-S4EP16 Five of your trickiest teacher co-worker problems solved.
    -This podcast was just what I needed to hear. I am a new teacher in a new school district this year and I often feel isolated and left out because I do not always want to stop and chat. I do want to build relationships with my peers but I am not here to make best friends. Some teachers at my school are very chatty and every time they see you in the halls or outside feel they need to stop me and give me a 20 minute debrief on how their life or class is going. I always stop and listen because I want to fit in and not make anybody think I don’t like them. So this podcast gave me some great ideas on how I can get out of the conversations without isolating myself or hurting anyone’s feelings. I liked how it said I could put a sign on my door “meeting in progress or prepping in progress.” That way co-workers or the principal knows I am at work but that I am busy in a polite way. I also liked how it said to make one friend or co-worker you can rely on that way I do not feel isolated.
    -Teresa Haun

  9. Truth for teachers-S5EP05 Preventing bullying in the classroom
    -This podcast was okay for me I felt I did not get the answers I was looking for. I have a bully in my class, however this student also has behavioral issues as well. There is not a day that goes by that this student does not hurt someone with words and it tends to be the same students that are getting bullied. I understand that a bully is looking for a reaction, especially in the younger grades as I teach first grade and I tell the students daily to walk away or not give the bully a reaction. But it is so difficult in the younger grades they just don’t understand that concept. As a teacher I know not to label that student as a bully as I agree there are no bad kids just bad behavior. For me I just don’t know what to do anymore about this bully if anyone has any ideas or strategies please feel free to post and let me know.
    -Teresa Haun

  10. Thanks, Teresa. Loved your honesty. You made me want to listen to Angela's podcast on five of the trickiest teacher co-worker problems solved.

    Re: Preventing bullying in the classroom, I was trained in a very effective method. As principal, I got a group of students together to discuss the bully’s issues (without the bully). I told the bully we were meeting with some classmates to brainstorm how we could help him or her. I told the bully we would all meet together in a week (including the bully this time) to discuss his or hers progress. You would not believe how successful this program was since the issues were a bid by the bully for attention and/or crying out for help. The bully suddenly felt important, included, etc. and responded very well in all cases. Let me know if you try it and how it’s working. Hope this is as helpful for you as it was for me and the bullies!
    Fondly, Lynn Gurnee, CRA P.P.

  11. We just finished listening to and discussing Angela Watson's podcast "How to Prioritize Teaching Tasks When Everything Seems Urgent". Favorite line - "You can't do it all". Teachers by nature want to do it all and don't know when to stop and have a life. We want to have a life, so we're going to take some of her advice, and try to prioritize tasks. First, we're going to try using her to-do lists to get the tasks out of our head and "free up room for creative thinking", as well as begin to leave it at school and not worry about forgetting it. Also, we're going to try to get in control of our time by focusing on one task at a time and managing interruptions better. Hopefully, by taking these first steps, we will ease anxiety and better focus on who's important - the students. So glad we took the time to listen to this podcast.
    Thank you,
    Lisa Romano & Sarah Sarshar

  12. Loved your thoughtful comments and your specific outcomes, Lisa & Sarah. Glad you valued your time spent on this project and the impact it made. Agree you will ease anxiety and what could be better than to have more time to focus on the students?! That says it all!
    Fondly, Lynn Gurnee, CRA P.P.

  13. Truth for Teachers- S4 Ep16 
Five of Your Trickiest Teacher Co-worker Problems Solved
 The idea of having “your people” whether they are at your school or outside of your school really resonated with me. I get along with my co-workers, but I’ve gone to several professional development meetings where I found myself thinking, “These are my people!” and I try to keep in contact with them because they help me find my fire again when I’m feeling discouraged or burnt out. My take-away: focus on being your best and following your passions and you will find your people. When you find your people, maintain those connections!
    ~Alison Wilkey

  14. Truth for Teachers- S5 Ep05 
Preventing Bullying in the Classroom

    I am so glad that the definition of bullying was addressed in this podcast. I feel like I hear the term being misused all the time. I encounter the “snitch” problem quite a bit. I have students in my class that consistently retaliate rather than report, because they have this stigma around telling the adult. I would love to work more on helping students explore their identities so that they have that strong sense of self that deters bullying. I would also like to talk with my class about how to respond when someone is “being mean”. I had a mentor that would occasionally have a student approach him and tell him about something mean that someone said to them and every time he would ask the student, “Is that true?” Meaning is the mean statement and statement about them that is true? Each time, the student would be surprised and would stop and think about it and then say, “No.” The teacher would say, “Well, then don’t worry about it.” Eventually, the students began to respond to “mean” words with little more than a “nope” or “that’s not true” and then they would move on.
    ~Alison Wilkey

  15. Truth for Teachers -S4 Ep15 
How to Undo Your Classroom Management Mistakes

    Changes routines midyear is daunting, so I really appreciated how she acknowledged the concern about not looking professional to the kids. I can see how having a conversation with your class about the change can generate buy-in and increase the effectiveness of the change. In my classroom, I struggle with the end of the day routine and I would love to try a new approach for a calmer and more efficient dismissal. Our backpacks are stored outside the room and regaining our focus as a class after leaving the classroom and packing up is a challenge. Having listened to this podcast, I will bring this subject up during our class’s community circle so that they can brainstorm how we can create a happier dismissal.

  16. Carolyn Dodds

    Season5 Ep10 Huge Decisions:

    Its important to remember that having choices and options is a privilege, and often we overlook this in the midst of our feeling of overwhelm. Angela's suggestion of making a weighted pros and cons list and then rating the pros and cons is a great approach to getting and staying organized. In life, what we'll find is that we'll regret the things we don;t do - not the things we do. The questions of "what if" is one that will haunt you if you don;t take a chance and step off the cliff with that leap of faith. Yes, change is scary and we all tend to look for validation and affirmation of things we already know - this is human nature. The ending quote of "May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears," is a profound one that we can all used to remember - not only when things feel overwhelming - but when fear is ignited in us at any point.

  17. Carolyn Dodds

    Season 4 Ep15 - Classroom Management

    I had a few take aways from this podcast - the first one being it is NEVER too late to change something that is not working. Modifying strategies, philosophies, and procedures at any time is a welcome change when change is needed. An important thing to remember is not to worry about losing credibility or confusing the kids by creating change - kids are adaptable. As long as you articulate whats not working and how you plan to fix it, the students will listen. Angela suggests having a conversation with them, leveling with the students, and involving them in creating the new expectation. She outlines a great idea for dialogue that generates participation from the students and presents key points: acknowledge the problem, talk about it, brainstorm ideas, have solutions in mind, and suggest "trying it out together." This approach teaches kids to problem solve and keeps an optimistic attitude about the outcome. I liked this podcast a lot because I'm a communicator at heart - I want to talk about everything and frontload my students, and peers, and family, with whatever is on my mind. This podcast was geared towards transparency and problem solving - I learned a lot from the dialogue she suggested.

  18. Carolyn Dodds
    Season 4 Ep 11 - Avoiding Technology Overwhelm

    Angela begins this podcast with a helpful reminder to be a determined lifelong learner. She suggests innovate like a turtle - meaning - be slow and steady, take small chunks to tackle. She suggests we focus on versatile tools that we can easily use and to let go of the thinking that we need to know everything and that we must get training in what we don't know. Often we bog ourselves down with our own thinking. In terms of technology - learning more can feel overwhelming and if we change our thinking to focus on small bites rather than eating the entire cookie, we can eliminate some of those feelings of anxiety. Angela suggests looking online for answers, checking out Youtube videos and using Google to troubleshoot and find answers. Another great suggestion is to keep a running list of tech issues and tech solutions, as well as tech help pages which can be easily referred to. Create a PLN - a personal learning network and allot time for research and practice. You don;t have to do it alone. My favorite part of this podcast was the final quote "Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master." This was said by Norwegian Noble Prize winner Christian Louis Lang, who was born is 1876. Its profound and insightful and I'm going to use it myself!

  19. Carolyn Dodds
    Season 2 Ep 9 - How to Prioritize Teaching Tasks

    This might be my favorite podcast yet, since currently - everything feels overwhelming and finding a good system of prioritizing has plagued me. Having heard the podcast and read the handout as well, a few things really jumped out as me as important take always - realizing and accepting that you CAN'T do it all is a tough lesson, but relevant, as well as understanding that while everything needs to be done - it doesn't all have to be done at the same time. Urgent and Important are NOT the same things. I'm a list maker by nature, so I can get on board with her suggestion to make a list and plug them into a schedule, as well as getting the most urgent items out of the way first. Staying on top of tasks can be daunting when interruptions happen often, but by taking notes and leaving yourself reminders, you eliminate forgetting about certain tasks. Grouping projects and tasks together is a great time saving strategy and finally TRUSTING yourself is key. Know that you will find the motivation and completion is going to occur - you set yourself up for success by training yourself to believe in your own abilities. Lastly - celebrate each accomplishment and recognize your own effort and hard work.
    By choosing the kids and remembering that you teach students, not standards, and asking yourself which task will benefit the students most -- you will in the end feel better about the time you spend with and without your students.

  20. Angela Watson
    Season4 ep 7- what to do when a student refuses to work

    This is my favorite podcast so far. This year I have a student who refuses to learn and I have spent so much energy on that kiddo that I feel very burnt out and it's only April. I like her 4 ways to help the student and if that doesn't get them working then focus on the other students who do want to learn. It was a great reminder that my energy sets the tone and that I can't let students who refuse to do the work set the tone.