Friday, July 17, 2015

Unshakeable Book Study: Chapter 11

I hope you have been enjoying this book study, as much as I have. I am getting so excited for the upcoming school year. Every year I am tired and in desperate need of my summer vacation. This book is really helping me to get in the right mind set for next year.

Chapter 11 is called Create curriculum "Bright Spots" you can't wait to teach.

wrote this book for us, the people who are teaching everyday. She writes from her experience as a teacher and a coach. I have to say I am getting so much out of this book. There are so many things I am reading; thinking, wow, I never thought of it like that before, or that is awesome! I need to share this with my team. In fact, I shared this on my county's Facebook page, that's how much I think teachers need this book of encouragement right now. I'm happy to say, that several of my teammates have ordered it and are going to read it as well, which makes me even more excited about next school year.

This chapter is full of a lot of meaningful ideas and strategies. First and foremost, don't apologize for not loving everything you teach. Burden removed! I know there are several topics that I cringe, when it's "that time of year" or certain stories in our Anthology, that has me thinking "Really?!" Angela gives us some practical ways to get through it.In those units, that are the bane of your existence, do your favorite activity--whatever that may be. I love playing academic games, so for my least favorite topics, I plan on creating some really fun games to get us through it all. Another ideas is to create a fun unit-long project around a topic, incorporating a variety of your favorite activities. Student-directed work stations is another alternative to those hard-to-teach topics. There are a lot of free and $ resources on that you can find and don't have to create in order to accomplish this. 
This one right here, really resonated with me. Hence, the cute graphic above. Make boring concepts more rigorous by incorporating 21st century skills. I hope you don't mind if I talk about this for a little bit. RIGOR is the BIG word in my county. Like every other word is; RIGOR this and RIGOR that. But no one ever tells you how to make something rigorous, it's like the vocabulary word everyone throws around but no one really knows what it means. Here is the definition of RIGOR: (from "while dictionaries define the term as rigid, inflexible, or unyielding, educators frequently apply rigor or rigorous to assignments that encourage students to think critically, creatively and more flexibly. Likewise, they may use the term rigorous to describe learning environments that are not intended to be harsh, rigid, or overly prescriptive, but that are stimulating, engaging and supportive." In this section Angela gives 3 practical examples of 21st century skills we can use to increase rigor.         1. Life and Career Skills: help kids identify how they can use the information in their future careers.                                    2.Information, Media and Technology skills: This is a big one! How often are you on your phone, on facebook, on instagram, on pinterest, on twitter, on whatever? We need to give our students the opportunity to practice technology skills too.                    3.Learning and innovation skills: The 4 C's-Critical Thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

Here's the other area that I felt I could accomplish in my own classroom. Angela, talks about how she would schedule into her week something for every day. What are some things that lift you up? Are there people at your school you really love to be around? schedule something each day to create a "bright spot". Maybe it's buying some munchkins for your team-meeting, or team-teaching a reading or writing lesson. Perhaps it's eating with some students at lunch once a week. Think about things you enjoy and intentionally schedule them into your work day.

Overall, Be intentional. Don't just wait around for something good to happen. You are in control of your environment and surroundings. While there may be things we can't control, an unruly students or an upset parent. Think about what you can do to intentionally create these bright spots.
Tomorrow I'm talking about Chapter 12: Incorporate playfulness and have fun with learning.



  1. I agree with the term RIGOR everywhere...but often confused as to what exactly they are wanting. I love this post to create bright spots in our day! Something I really plan on implementing this year. Great post!

  2. I'm so excited for next year because I will only be teaching LA and SS... my least favorite subject to teach was math. I have a feeling this whole year is going to be a lot brighter!! :)
    Happy Teaching,
    Adventures in Teaching (A First Grade Blog)


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