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 https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/angela-watsons-truth-for-teachers/id954139712# 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:  lynn@gurnee.org

Happy 2017!

Lynn Gurnee, Past CRA President

68 comments:

  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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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    1. I just listened to that podcast too, and totally agree with your thoughts Jasmine. I have gotten pretty good at writing lists this year and prioritizing them. But I wasn't doing as well, with those "urgent" tasks that would suddenly show up on my desk. My thought was, along the lines of what Angela said, to get the information out of my head as soon as possible. The problem with that is that I would drop everything to get that task done and then get myself unfocused on what I had been doing. I will follow Angela's advice now and write that task down, but complete it at an appropriate time.

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  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

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  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

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  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

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  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

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  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.

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  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

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  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.

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  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

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    1. Alison, loved your 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! You've inspired me & hopefully others!
      ~Lynn Gurnee

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  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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!

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  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.

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  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.

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    1. I totally agree that Angela gave us a great reminder to focus on the students who want to learn. Burn out comes from trying so hard with students that you spend so much energy on and continue to lack motivation. Sometimes allow yourself to be replenished by feeding off the engaged students. Fill yourself up with inspiration so that you as the teacher can continue to poor out those that need constant motivation.

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  21. Gain Energy From Kids Rather than Being Drained – I loved that is was so focused on putting your energy into what is important. It is so easy to get caught up in the daily problem solving of scheduling – and not enough time in the day. It is important to remember that we joined this profession for the love of children, and the love of learning. Both which should be the center of our focus – our instruction should always stem from the underlying desire for our students to want to work to their potential.

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  22. Hacking Project Based Learning – tips for managements, assessments and more, was a very insightful podcast. I am always fascinated by PBL – but as they discussed – my concerns lie more in the management of the students groups. I agree with them – in that students need to be taught HOW to collaborate and work together – like any other skill this needs to be explicitly taught – it is not something that just occurs by being together. I also really loved that they encourage us to create the PBL opportunities based on our classroom culture and experience – not just by taking someone else’s lesson and implementing it – in other words PBL is not a “cookie-cutter” approach to your content, but an authentic experience for your students.

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    1. S5EP11 Project Based Learning. This used to scare me but now I see how well it can work. When I heard that the kind of collaboration needed for project based learning needed to be taught I thought of the toddler who engages in parallel play before he learns to play with someone else. I used lots of pair share last year but no real PBL. This year in the Spring we used this model for our Animal Habitats Unit and while it had its ups and downs the students learned so.... much. They researched, collaborated and presented. I learned right along with them and I can truly say they went from learning to read to reading to learn. I always thought of PBL as something for upper grades but I have seen the light. I plan to incorporate it more next year. I always tell my students that the only way they can learn something is to do it. You learn to read by reading, you learn to write by writing and this PBL was evidence of that. So glad we did it.

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    2. S5EP13 This podcast reminded me of what I always say, "in a perfect world" which we know doesn't exist and "stuff" happens. Angela is so right when she says a day less crammed is a day less stressful. This in turn will lead to me being more responsive to student's needs. I love her idea of buffer time and even a buffer day. I can call it catch up day at work and sanity day at home. I always overbook myself and adding a few minutes to tasks could be a great idea. It is true that when I get ahead of things my mental state is better which can only benefit my students. I always feel guilty if I'm not busy but giving myself permission to slow down and use buffer time sounds like just what the doctor ordered. Will be part of my next school year for sure.

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  23. The Simplest Way to stop feeling Overwhelmed and Overscheduled was a great podcast that reminds us how crutal it is that we prioritize. It always feels like everything is extremely important – but truth is – we need to look at things day by day. Angela gives great advise for not only organizing your paperwork by specific deadlines – but that maybe we need to think about rearranging our time so that we are working during times of the day that optimize our energy. In other words – perhaps not completing the to-do list after school – and re-visiting it later in the evening – or perhaps in the morning when we are our best. I also love that she acknowledges that even after placing clear parameters for organization in our classrooms – this still will not take away the workload or demands – it then always comes down to the management of our time – and prioritizing based on dates.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly! I like how Angela reiterated and recognized that you can't do it all...and everything is not equally important. If we prioritize by completing and attacking what is the most pressing. I love the quote, "You can do anything, but you can't do everything." By creating time management priorities it allows for the management of getting tasks done effectively and efficiently.

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  24. How to Prioritize Teaching Tasks When Everything Seems Urgent was another helpful podcast by Angela Watson. I love her quote "You can do anything, but you can't do everything". I do well following this mantra in my day to day work; if a copy doesn't have cute clip art or I don't get my bulletin board changed every few weeks, I don't get stressed. My dilemma comes more with committees and peers. When I'm asked to do something, my first reaction is to say yes and deal with the consequences later. I am going to follow Angela's train of thought from now on and write down the request and give myself adequate time to consider it and then respond. I need to do this in my personal life as well.

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  25. How To Prioritize Teaching Tasks When Everything Seems Urgent.
    Another thought I took away from this podcast is that I set my schedule, not the interruptions that may occur throughout the day. As I said in my earlier post, I tend to drop everything and give attention to the tasks (and people) that appear at my door. What I need to start doing is take a moment and prioritize this current interruption, while also taking stock of what I am currently working on, so as not to become unfocused. If I have to make someone wait for a few minutes, that's ok. And if I have to set up another time to talk, that's ok too. I have to set the schedule that works for me.

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    1. I love these reminders! I feel so overwhelmed when I start a multitude of tasks and go an inch deep and a mile wide as opposed to the opposite. Spreading yourself so thin all the time is a recipe for burn out and stress. When we multi-task I love how Angela pointed out to group similar tasks together to increase efficiency. This has reminded me to finish a task before starting a new one. This allows me to be more efficient and get more tasks completed.

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  26. Season 4 Ep 11 - Avoiding Technology Overwhelm
    Completely agree! "Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master." We need use technology as a tool but not let it overwhelm us and takeover. Tools are useful until they become another task on the list.

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  27. Season 4
    What to do when a student consistently refuses to work

    Angela talked about what teachers should do when students refuses to work. This is the student that refuses to work and pick up a pencil. Some times it could be attitude or lack of focus. She stated that there is no right solution.
    A students refusal to work is not because a lack of planning, classroom culture, or other items when a student doesn't pull their weight. Some teacher put so much energy into supporting the students who don't work that they get so tired and burnt out leaving the rest of the students there waiting for your attention.

    Angela has 4 steps to support students who don't like to work

    1-Encourage the kid in a upbeat kind way. Act like the child will do the work.
    2-Check in at eye level with student to see if there is a problem
    3-Add a natural consequence. Giving time and amount of work that needed to be done. At this point don't be upset, but mean business
    4- Let child feel natural consequences.
    KEY IS TO REPEAT THESE STEPS over and over. You can't control every child but you can control your feelings.

    My favorite take back was when she said "Don't plan a lesson who hates everything you do...plan for the 5 kids who love everything you do."

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    1. What to do when a student consistently refuses to work?

      TruthforTeachers.com


      Angela spoke on a kid that needs constant cajoling or bribing to get to work...a kid who lacks focus. "Motivation is not powered by electricity". Some kids just can't focus and get the work done no matter how interesting or meaningful you try to make it. A student's refusal to work is not 'always' a direct teaching problem. Do what you can do to make it the most for kids.
      First thing to do is to encourage the student in a light hearted way...don't get discouraged. Encourage the student and not make it a big deal. Act like you believe that they will do it.
      Then, quietly interact with them if they continue to not work. After that explicitly give direction to the student but also with consequence. Calm but mean business, consequences like being late for recess, or not get maximum points. Discuss this one on one after the child experiences consequences. Try to keep connecting with that kid. You can control your attitude and no one elses. You can't make the child work if they don't want to. Spend less time wasting and spend more time hooking the ones that are excited about learning. Draw in the majority of the class. Don't allow those that refuse to work to bring you down or feel jaded. Enter the room each day with an open mind trying to inspire them...Teachers need to share the 'magic' inside of you. Angela's take away truth: "Yesterday, I was clever...today I was wise and wanted to change myself".

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    2. I love her four steps! I've done these over and over and over again with certain students. On some days it can be tiring, but there's such satisfaction in knowing that even if that child is taking it to step 4, I'm doing all that I can. It's such a great feeling to see them step up! It make take a few round, but the consistency is essential.

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    3. Ha, knew this was you, Tamra. JuJu looks like you. Also like Angela's suggestion to "Not plan a lesson for those that hate everything you do...plan for the 5 kids who love everything you do." ~ Lynn

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  29. How to Prioritize

    I walked away from this podcast with so many useful tools and reminders. I have started keeping organized lists of tasks that need to be accomplished. I am no longer allowing other’s priorities to offset or become my own. I was incredibly empowering to hear Angela describe so many scenarios that I have allowed myself to become entrapped by and finally feel as though I could take ownership of my own wants and needs ahead of others. I really enjoyed the idea of not just transferring the undone tasks on one day onto the next but instead pick out the top 3 most important tasks that will leave you feeling fulfilled for the day to complete and then get to the others if possible. So many times I will end each day not feeling accomplished but now I am able to see that I have completed the important things, and more often than not, some of the lesser important tasks.

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  30. Gain Energy from Kids Instead of Being Drained

    This past year has been incredibly trying on my resolve to continue in this profession. I have found myself constantly trying to remind myself that I joined this elite profession because I love the impact that I am able to make on our society’s future. This podcast made me feel less isolated in my thoughts and allowed me to release some of the guilt that I have been carrying around in regards to not always giving everyday my best. There have been several days when I’ve come to school already feeling defeated by the student’s needs. I feel like I will never be able to get them to where they need to be. Since listening to this podcast I have started greeting each day with new fresh energy. I greet my students each day at the door and we all chant together “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, so let’s live in the now.” This sense of newness and ability to hit the restart button every morning has not only increased my energy and zest for teaching, but has also given my students new life.

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    1. Wow, Rebecca you made my day. CCRA's focus this year was to get away from curriculum and support teachers professionally. Your sense of newness and ability to hit the restart button every morning to increased energy and zest for teaching, but also impact on students is priceless. Loved all your comments. ~Lynn

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  31. What to do if students refuse to work?

    This podcast was incredibly helpful to my current classroom. I have a few students who are challenge/GATE students. However, no matter the type of enrichment or amount of encouragement I gave, they have no desire to work. Many times I realized that they were pretending not to understand something or to be off task because they didn't want to be given enrichment work. I was able to take strategies and a new lens on the situation at hand. I started pulling these students for one-on-one conferences to discuss what their frustrations were in the classroom and to have them give me ideas on how to make the classroom more engaging for them. I then extended this idea to the whole class by asking the kids to give me anonymous tips on how to make our classroom a better, more engaging environment. I was able to get their buy-in and now have much more participation and accountability from the class.

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  32. What to do when a student consistently refuses to work

    After waiting to hear the "magic" answer for engaging resistant students it's amazing to discover that I have actually been short-changing those that do want to learn and work. Planning a lesson for those that want it will show the others how engaging learning can be. It's still important to show and remind the reluctant students that they are expected to learn. I tell them that I don't get paid just to teach 5, 10, or 15 students but all the students in the class. The motto in my classroom is: The important thing is that you try! With this in mind, children are cheered when they show progress regardless of where they are at.
    I try to hook my students by using this philosophy during journal writing in the beginning of the year. In the beginning, while some children can write a few words, others can only draw or scribble. After writing, children are invited to share their writing. Initially they are hesitant but eventually they all want to share. Whatever a child has to offer we accept by saying, "The important thing is that he tried." Next time around, I look for any sign of progress such as adding a period or drawing a picture. I change the chant to, "He was able to do it because he tried!"
    Of course, there are those who still worry me, not because they don't try but because they are so easily distracted. That's when I have to remind myself that 1.) I'm working with five year-olds, 2.) Maybe the lesson was too hard for them, or 3.) They could have an underlying condition that has not yet been diagnosed.

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  33. How to prioritize tasks

    I really thought I had adult on-set ADHD since I was having such a hard time focusing on any one thing. I also kept thinking that maybe I was just getting old. Long gone were the days when I would exercise in the morning, nurse a child and prepare him for childcare, teach during the day and after school, go home and cook dinner, wash the dishes, read to the baby and nurse him, and still find the energy to read my own book.
    This podcast had me reflecting and thinking that maybe I'm not getting old or suffering from ADHD but I'm overextending myself. I now have three kids and even though one of them is 24, he still brings me his happy moments as well as his sorrows. I don't only teaching kindergarten but also intervention, and do other things that are asked of me that fall under "added responsibilities." In addition, I help out after school with the musical, evening school activities, etc. The duties at home have lessened while the duties at school have greatly increased.
    With this in mind, I have applied some of the strategies presented by Ms. Watson such as grouping similar tasks together. Before going to make copies, I go through the list of things I need to accomplish in the staff lounge in addition to making copies such as laminating. I will then make sure to prioritize the tasks in order of importance in case there is an interruption such as a fire drill. If I don't complete all tasks, the materials needed stay in a bin that I will grab the next time I head out to the teacher's lounge. When I need to send a child top the office I send in any forms that need to be signed and turned in to the office.
    Getting a handle on the clerical tasks will let me focus more on the job of teaching. When I get to school at 7:00 I now immediately set up materials for the day's teaching and then I focus on prep. In addition, I set up the work based on what needs to be covered and what can wait or be sent home. This seems to be working in that I don't lose time going back to my desk to retrieve things that I need.
    There is still an area that I need to work on and that is not talking too long to parents as they drop off their kids. This is a hard one for me as most parents go to work and I don't see them at any other time. Maybe at Back to School Night I should ask them to write down their concerns if it's something that is not urgent and remind them that I lose teaching time if I talk to them when I'm supposed to be teaching.

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    1. It's so easy to overextend as teachers. We have so many things going on all the time and we're wearing so many different hats. I too have incorporated some of Angela Watson's strategies and feel much more efficient and organized. Making the lists and grouping similar tasks together has been a life saver for me. I feel like I have several hours of my life back on a weekly basis. I've also decided to do the one task that I dread first and that's worked for me as well. Once I can cross that off my list it puts me on a roll to keep checking those items off my list.

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  34. I listened to the podcast regarding how to react to disrespectful students (season 5, episode 14)

    This was a very interesting podcast. I agreed with many aspects and found myself reflecting on a couple things that I have known I could be doing better. First, I loved listening to the discussion about the "teacher look". I feel that I have this down. I try to "nail" my look within the first few months of school. This look allows me to shoot down possible disrespectful behavior before it occurs. Students know my expectation so when they see "the look", they instantly know that they are not rising to that expectation. I also enjoyed listening to the discussion regarding the take away from the podcast. I have a very defiant student this year in class. I know that this behavior is stemming from how he is allowed to behave at home and the lack of interaction he has considering he is put in front of an ipad or phone when his behaviors become too disruptive in the household. I struggle a lot with defiance and wanting to discipline immediately. After listening to the podcast, I have been trying a different approach. When he is defiant, I do make him apologize and we work through a different way to speak to the adult that he acted out against. When defiance is enough to warrant a time out, I have been taking time to sit with him and talk through why he said what he said or made the decision to be defiant and then we talk about how to do it differently. I'm not sure if this technique will be effective as I just began it, but I do notice my feelings toward this student changing. I am not viewing him as the defiant kid in my class...I enjoy talking to him and working out solutions and also hearing some of his life stories in the process.

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    1. "The Teacher Look" is a great tool. It is an effective way to redirect students or correct behaviors without words. For most of my students, this is all I need. I have also found that building a strong connection with students helps because they don't want to disappoint, hence making the "teacher look" all the more effective. I also loved reading about how you are using the strategies with your student who is defiant. I especially love that you wrote that your feelings towards the student is changing. Powerful. Well done!

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    2. Agree, Gina & Debbie. The teacher look is effective with husbands too. LOL, Lynn Gurnee

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  35. Season 5, Episode 12 (Ten Things Every White Teacher Should Know)
    This is one I think I could listen to over and over, and each time learn something new and gain a better understanding of such a complex issue that is always evolving. There are a few points that stood out to me: one, that racism is not holding hate within your heart towards someone who is different from you, but it is a systemic issue that is based upon the oppression of a group of people. The second, is that language is constantly evolving and that we need to use words and phrases that are inclusive and empowering when referring to students of color, and third, the best thing we can do is to listen to other's share their experiences with us and try to learn, emphasize and share their stories.

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  36. Season 3, Episode 3 (Help Students Who Don't Take Ownership of Their Own Learning)
    I remember being in the credential program and watching a VERY experienced teacher reflect on the service learning project his class just finished and I remember feeling completely intimidated. He made it look so seemless and meaningful! It left quite an impact and now many years later, we are all still trying to transition into this way of making learning more meaningful, and yet it is a very rocky process: we as teachers have a tendency to "micro-manage" and anticipate problems (therefore, heading into a project that appears to be 'open-ended or evolving' can be nerve-racking) and students are used to a very structured approach to learning. So when we go about doing a project like this, there are some necessary steps we need to make ahead of time to ensure success...explicitly teach and practice these 'life skills' of problem solving, organizing thoughts and materials. That was eye opening. Additionally, I liked that giving the students the opportunity to make small decisions/ choices in the little tasks will help and empower students to one day be able to make larger decisions as their skill sets increase. I really loved the point of selecting a topic I personally know very little about, so that I can honestly say to my students "I don't know, what are some ways you can try and find it out?" and they can truly feel the need to figure it out.

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  37. Season 3, Episode 12 (Stop Overworking Future You)
    I don't know why I think I will have more time, or be less busy next week, or in three months. I never am, and therefore, the idea of implementing small changes when needed within my classroom processes and procedures is going to build positive momentum and energize me. I LOVE to reorganize things and make them more efficient...and doing so THIS year with my students makes a lot more sense, rather than waiting and adding one more thing to that ever growing list in August.

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    1. Thanks, Karen, for your thoughtful, helpful comments. We love having you on the CRA/CCRA team!
      ~ Lynn Gurnee, CRA PP and CCRA President

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  38. “Kids need to have a meaningful purpose for their work just like we as teachers do!” As I read this, I reflected on my own feelings and emotions around doing work that feels purposeful. I want my kids to experience the same feelings of engagement, satisfaction, and enthusiasm that come with being vested in our work, or in a project. That feeling will translate across multiple domains including, academics, community building in the classroom, deeper level thinking, and life skills that will transcend outside of the classroom.
    I love the ideas presented in this podcast. In particular I loved the idea of having the kids identify a need in the community and then creating a project around it. The opportunity allowed the kids to practice collaboration, math, social skills, social awareness, science, gratitude, and analytical skills! Knowing that their work mattered, resulted in high engagement and valuable life lessons.

    “If your students are sharing their work with the world, they want it to be good. If they’re just sharing it with you, they want it to be good enough.” This inspired me to incorporate more opportunities for students to share their work. Knowing that they were going to share their work with their peers definitely increased engagement and enthusiasm in the classroom. I incorporated many more opportunities for the kids to present their work this year and they loved it. We took a lot of our typical collaborative work and spent the time presenting it, instead of just turning it in. The kids really enjoyed the “feedback” element, which meant they were really listening!

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! Re: having the kids identify a need in the community and then creating a project around it, I love that too. My granddaughter (2nd grade) did a week project where she cruised neighborhoods and tallied environmental issues such as litter, watering lawns & car washing with wasted water going into the street, etc. She also tallied solutions like people picking up litter, installing drip systems and drought resistant plants, etc. She even put in her own about people riding bikes and walking to school rather than driving. The whole family got involved and Daily is very much more aware of how to be a part of taking care of the earth! Plus she added up tallies so got math skills too as well as writing skills. Lynn Gurnee, CRA PP

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  39. Overcoming Decision Paralysis: how to make better choices quickly
    1. Set limits on how much time you will spend exploring your options: This strategy alone speaks directly to me. I am totally guilty of spending hours researching and hunting for the “perfect” lesson and or resource. I am an over-researching! I end up with a plethora of resources and then I end up overwhelmed and I end up spending way too much time laboring over which one to go with. I realized I waste so much time and energy. By setting a time limit, I can spend more time in developing the lesson.
    2. Never procrastinate in a way that causes you to make the same decision twice: Because I am in constant search of the perfect resources, I have a difficult time finalizing decisions. The result is I take way too much time laboring over making my final decision. What a waste of time and energy and I never realized it as procrastination. My brain power is being expended on the decision-making process in an unbalanced way.
    3. Make “just fine” your goal, rather than “just right”: It is extremely difficult to be okay with the “just fine” goal when you are a perfectionist. My incentive for doing so is realizing that I only lose valuable time and brain energy. It is certainly not productive. I like the idea that I should just try to do the best

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    1. Ditto, Debbie, and thanks again for your thoughtful comments. We love having you on our CCRA team! xoxo Lynn Gurnee

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  40. What to do if a student refuses to work

    I teach first grade. I have one student to has been a struggle all year with doing their work. He loves to talk or just plays with whatever he has with him. I have taken his recess away, have taken beep beeps away(tickets that students can use to buy toy at the end of the month from the school), and I have talked to his mom. But this would never change. Then, one day I decided I had enough with always taking things away and still not getting him to do his work. So I decided to use positive reinforcement. I had him at my desk and showed him my phone. I showed him my timer and in a sneeky way said, "if you get the journal writing done in 10 minutes I will give you 2 beep beeps!" Since I didn't announce it to the class he was so excited. I told him to signal me with a nod when he was ready to start. He went back to his desk and gave me that nod. I hit start. Within 6 minutes he came back with his journal and it was done. I gave him his 2 beep beeps. This has been working for us. But now I do this and offer 1 beep beep.
    I have another student who I couldn't say was as successful as this one. This other student I tried the positive reinforcement and he could care less about anything he would get as a price. This was so stressful. I would talk to him, I would get into their group and see if he would participate inn the small discussion group, I would ask him on his own what he thought of the book I shared with the class and he would always just shrug. Then, finally I asked him to tell me at least one thing from the book that he liked. Any part. He couldn't answer. I then told him, well in order for me to know that you understood what happened in the story I need you to tell me or write about something from the story. He then kept saying he couldn't remember the story. I of course know he couldn't remember the story because he's either talking or looking else where while I'm reading and discussing the book with the class. So I told him...ok I know you know how to read. Would you like to read the book and then write about the story sequence. He smiled and said yes. This finally worked. So now when we read a story I hand him the book to re read it and then he writes about it. I've learned that taking things away doesn't help. And when this happened I understand completely how he felt because I struggle with retaining what someone reads to me. I have to have the text in front of me in order to be fully engaged.

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  41. How to prioritize tasks.

    Yes we get overwhelmed throughout the school year with everything in school and outside if school. I teach 1st graders and I am a single mom of a 12 year old and a 14 year old. Between band recitals from my kids and classroom projects it gets crazy around this time of the year. But I have found that organizing, planning, and re using in a variety of ways is very helpful.
    I like to teach in whole group instruction, then the students do their work, finally we get back together to brainstorm and close the lesson. but right before report cards this is very hard because you have to test students individually. So I have centers. I have 6 groups of 4-5 kids and 2 different projects. The kids rotate tables after 20 minutes and they do the next center. This way the kids get 2 major activities completed on their own while I try to get some testing done. The centers aren't always activities they can include games like syllable bingo or syllable puzzles. The kids love these. Having the students engaged in their center is a huge advantage especially when you are trying to finish up the individual testings.
    This month my priority has been table centers. I plan them out on Friday's. If I have everything ready the students will do centers on Monday. If I have to prep things for the centers then the kids get game centers on Monday and the things I planned out for Tuesday. I'm still learning on not sweating the small things. It's a struggle because I like to stride to do the best. But I know I don't have to be the best just be good enough for the kids. With the centers the kids are engaged, they are learning and we make it fun enough that they think it's "free time".

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  42. Gain Energy from the kids instead of being drained.

    This is my 2nd year as a teacher. I taught kindergarten last year and this year I teach 1st grade. When I started teaching kindergarten I felt overwhelmed. Every day I was planning, following everything the way that I was told, making sure everything was being covered, always moving along trying to make sure that the students wouldn't get behind on where they should be by X time. In return I found myself on the computer all evening finding web pages that would help me with my students. I would have an outline of my day typed out every day and when I would get to class I would get everything organized and ready to go. But I found by around November that I had to be more flexible. I was draining myself. I was trying to push these kindergartners when I should actually be paying attention to them, to help them better what they were currently working on. I learned that I would stress because I was not sticking to my lesson plan for the day because half the class was struggling with the letter of the week. I finally learned that the students will guide me to how much they need on the subject matter. Like the saying goes: More isn't always better.

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  43. How to undo classroom management mistakes.

    I feel all teachers start the school year with the basic rules. Don't run in the class, raise your hand to speak, eyes on the speaker, etc. This year I teach 1st graders. I followed the rules that I used last year from kindergarten. From what I have seen and learned the students will guide you as to what they need structure for. I felt my class this year pretty much new and followed the classroom rules until it was time to work on their own at their desk. They thought the rules were only when we were working as a group on the carpet, at least that is how it felt. I couldn't figure out what was happening. Once the kids got top their desks all they wanted to do was talk. I started table points. This helps sometimes but there are talkers at each group. I then decided to explain what working with your group looks like and what I see and hear when they are actually in their groups. Many laughed and could see the difference. So I talked to my TISP coach (formally BTSA) to see if she had any other suggestions. She recommended Picture Posters. So the whole week the students would follow the classroom rules and I would reintroduce table group rules. The rule would be Concentration: Concentrate on your work while at your group. Then everyday for 1 week the kids would all repeat the rule in the morning and before they would go to their groups. The first day I would tell them that I would be taking pictures of students that showed me exactly what a student looks like when they are concentrating on their work. Wow, this worked wonders! Kids were all quite and working I was snapping pictures. Then the next day I printed and brought in 4 pictures. I put the pictures on a poster and I wrote the rule on there too. The kids would repeat the rule like before and they followed through. It takes A LOT of repetition and practice. About 1 1/2 weeks later the kids finally had it down and then I moved on to another rule. It's a struggle trying to change from what they were already used to but it's worth it once you see how the kids change.

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    1. S4EP15 How To Undo Classroom Management Mistakes
      I appreciated that Angela pointed out that it is ok to admit mistakes to your students. I do it a lot with my 1st graders so that they know it is ok to make mistakes. I always post my rules at the beginning of the year and just like Gregoria I taught Kinder last year and this year I teach 1st. I started the year with the same basic 4 rules but by mid-year it was evident that they not only needed more rules but they also could handle more. After hearing Angela's podcast I feel better because at first I felt like I was asking too much of my students but thankfully it worked and now I see that by changing my behavior to create change I was actually providing an environment where students could do their best. The students are on track and for the most part very well behaved. I think that I have to be willing to adapt my rules to fit the students that I teach each year. As Angela points out the more years I teach the better I will get with knowing when and what to change or modify. I am a firm believer that good classroom management helps me meet students needs not to mention keep my sanity.

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  44. Overcoming Decision Paralysis

    After listening to Angela's podcast I could see that I do some of the things that she suggests. For example, on Friday's I don't leave school until my lessons are ready on my desk for Monday. I have a clear container where I put the books and worksheets that I will be needing. I always try to make sure that anything that I actually need to prep for like an activity isn't for a Monday project. This way I don't spend my weekend getting it ready.
    I was one of those that procrastinated all weekend till Sunday night to plan for the week. All this caused me was unwanted stress and worse if my time to plan had to unexpectedly change due to things that were out of my control. This is why I make sure that I have at least Monday's lessons ready.
    I also have an alarm on my phone that goes off at 320PM as a heads up to finish whatever I am doing in school. Because we all know there's always something else you can try to get ahead in. So my timer goes off every day at 320 and I go home to help my own kids with their struggles from middle school. I do continue planning on whatever I need to get done but I try not to go past 2 hours. It's very hard because you figure well right now that I am doing this I can do that too. But that cycle never gets done. Setting up constant reminders and planning has been very beneficial to me. I love teaching but like Angela says we also have a life outside of school and we need to separate school from our personal time.

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  45. Thanks, Gregoria and Jasmine! Great comments! Thanks for sharing. You certainly do not speak like new teachers. You have come a long way so quickly! It is a joy to work together!
    ~Lynn Gurnee

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  46. Season 3 Episode 3

    I left this podcast feeling very excited that I am doing one of the very things Angela talked about. Really honing in and digging into what motivates the student I believe is super important. Although my kiddos are very young. I always try to paint the picture of the future and the "bigger picture". That they are working hard because even though it may not mean much to them now, in the future it will mean a great deal. I thought it important to help my students realize the why, why they are doing what they're doing, learning what they are learning etc. I found that having them know their "why" improved participation and they took my teaching as less of me telling them what to do, and more like me giving them the tools they need to succeed in whatever their future goals are.

    -Chelsc Divinagracia (last name change) ;)

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  47. Overcoming Decision Paralysis:

    This podcast was perfect for me! I find myself even outside of the classroom, having a hard time making decisions! If it's out of routine for me, then it takes me forever to decide, weighing my options back and forth.

    I loved her advice that said once you make a decision, stick with it! I find myself jumping back and forth on which is the best option and by the time I decide I probably could have finished whatever I was trying to decide to do.

    I also appreciate the advice on pick one thing to get done and complete it. I took this advice around report card time and found myself able to actually complete things rather than having several things started, but not completed.

    In all honesty I did agree with her time limitations if you are working on "work" at home. But I try to steer as far away from that as possible because I like to dedicate weekends strictly to family time. I've found if I use her other advice on prioritizing then I have less things I'd even think about doing on the weekend!

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  48. Gain Energy Instead of Being Drained:

    This podcast came at a wonderful time, when I was feeling super drained! I have always denied myself being a "control freak" but as soon as I had my first class in my first year of teaching I realized very quickly that I am indeed a control freak. Throughout the last two years I have noticed many things that I would love to do for the kiddos, that they can easily do themselves (possibly in their own way). This podcast was a great reminder that if I try to do and control everything, it quickly leads to unnecessary exhaustion. After this podcast I made it a point to have two students come up and write the date (digitally and with words practicing the skill of writing the date with commas), I had students pass out papers, students write on the board who was absent, etc. Instead of constantly saying "oh I'll wait, we won't leave for lunch till it's quiet", I told them before they lined up what I expected, and didn't say anything else till they did that. (warning and warning and warning is exhausting!!) Eventually they all knew I would just wait there quietly and wouldn't remind them so they just did it! If I repeated directions more than two times I'd ask a student who I knew listened to repeat them again instead of me. This podcast was an inspiration to let go and give more of the responsibility to the kiddos.

    -Chelsc Divinagracia

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