To help encourage conversations about mindfulness and the ideas of taking care of oneself, our topic/question of the week is: What gift(s) will you give to yourself in the new year?
Please see link to Google Form to share your responses: Giving Gifts to Oneself (12/20/15) (This is an anonymous Google Form)
With vacation starting this week, I hope everyone had a nice weekend and hopefully found some calm before the busy and very full 3-day week of school. After enjoying a nice visit with teachers, both current and former staff, at the Blake holiday party on Friday afternoon we have enjoyed a busy couple of days - the weekly Saturday sports, a holiday neighborhood get together Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon we are attending an annual holiday party with family and friends that I have gone to since I was Grayden's age. It's been wonderful to see the relationships of the different generations blossom over the years.
As I sat down to reflect upon this past week and share some thoughts, many of the ideas that came out of our professional development this week are very present and on my mind. We were very fortunate to have Christi Clark Barney lead our staff through the workshop on mindfulness, and on Thursday evening I took some time to review and process the notes I had taken from Christi Barney's mindfulness workshop. In the spirit of sharing, I have highlighted some of the points that have stayed with me...
- Definition from Psychology Today: Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present.When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
- 30 seconds - we all have it!
- Borrowing principles - make it work the way you want to work
- ‘Standing at the door’ or ‘Tiger at the door’
- What gifts can we give ourselves?
- Key/importance of teaching portable skills
- Collaboration (Have I leveraged my colleagues? Have I leveraged my resources? Have I spoken up if I am too near my edge?)
- Resolutions (One thing I will do to take care of myself….One thing I will do Mindfully each day….One thing I will do to decrease work stress…)
- Laundry can wait, phone calls can wait, work can wait
- Be mindful of the present gifts that we have
I find myself coming back to these ideas and thinking about how they connect and relate to our students, colleagues, community, my professional relations/existence, and my personal relations/existence. Each of the notes above holds meaning for different reasons, but one that applies to much of our work in education and parenting is that of 'borrowing principles' - we do not need to adopt every facet of every workshop, lesson, conference, article, or theory. We should allow ourselves to simply apply what holds meaning - finding what holds true for us and making it work for ourselves. That is a mindset that I hope to carry forth and also foster for our students and staff. I recognize that I share a lot of information and resources each week and my intent is to continue to nurture the professional and academic nature of our profession - reading, learning, and sharing what is in the world of education. I hope that the idea of 'borrowing what holds meaning' is one that can be practiced with one another, as we continue to explore the avenues we want to pursue for our students and community. With this in mind, here are two posts that are carrying me forward this week before we take a break...
Winter PD: Learn One New Thing Over Break
by Lily Jones from Teaching Channel
This post has links and resources for teachers to peruse, either during vacation, or in the new year. I have to admit that I often feel obliged to keep up on 'everything current', but I hope to remember that these resources are here 'for the taking' at all times.
Our Dreams are Simple: We Want to GO OUTSIDE
by Bill Ferriter from Center for Teaching Quality
I am sharing this post as I appreciate Ferriter's question that he poses of students. It is important to get the direct perspectives of our students and to really listen. With vacation approaching it is important to make sure we take a break, get outside, and play.
So I had them to do a bit of dreaming about education last week. "If YOU were in charge," I asked, "what would you change about school? What would your dream class in school look like?"
Continuing this idea of 'borrowing principles' I have always appreciated 'end of year lists', as they provide a structured way to reflect upon the last 12 months. I do not always agree with the lists, but I enjoy learning more about the list creator as they tend to represent the core values and beliefs that he/she holds dear. I enjoy learning and sharing, and one of the things that keeps me going is a culture of growth, questioning, and reflection. Prior to my work with Medfield's new teachers a few weeks ago, I shared with the group some posts that have influenced my thinking and helped to shape my educational philosophy. As we wrap up this calendar year, here are links to the six posts that I find myself coming back to on a regular basis (some are from the past 12 months and others are carry overs from years past). They are the ones that ground my thinking and help me to stay centered on our mission...
Methods: Tradition vs Relevance
by Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby)
7 Things Every Kid Should Master
by Susan Engel in The Boston Globe
John Hattie's 10th Mindframe for Learning
by Peter DeWitt (@PeterMDeWitt) in Education Week
3 Reasons You Need Twitter More Than It Needs You!
by Peter DeWitt (@PeterMDeWitt) in Education Week
by Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann)
Before Technology, The Power of Asking Questions
by Justin Reich (@bjfr) in Education Week
At the end of Christi's workshop, she encouraged us to all take some time over these last couple weeks of 2014 amidst the season of resolutions and beginnings to ask ourselves this question - 'What gift will you give yourself?' We are accustomed to this season of gift giving for others, but it is important to give gifts to ourselves as well. And, as she also encouraged us to do, let's share these gifts with one another as we leverage ourselves, colleagues, one another, and our community. I resolve to find the time to reflect upon this question and hope that you will as well, and I look forward to sharing and listening to our answers as we renew our energy for our students in 2016.
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