Search 7 Sunday

I missed #Find5Friday again, so here is my #Search7Sunday instead! This week I will be sharing some of my go-to support systems in my teaching journey.

  1. #EngChat – I really enjoy Twitter chats that are related to education and other interests I have. I learned about #EngChat when I was taking Meenoo Rami‘s class “Teacher Practice in a Connected World”. I have participated in this chat in the past and like to read what other English teachers have to say about the various topics discussed in the chat.
  2. The Engaging Station – When I feel like I need new ideas about ways to engage my students, I check out this Instagrammer to get new ideas or remind myself of things I want to try.
  3. The Teaching Channel – This resource helps me to refocus and remember some of my classroom poses. The Teaching Channel features videos of master lessons and lessons that didn’t go so well. These help me to ease through wobble moments.
  4. The National Endowment for the Humanities – Last summer, I spent a month at The Newberry Library as a summer scholar sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I got to learn about using maps in education and I made deep connections with teachers from around the country. I exchange ideas with these teachers and share resources through our Facebook group.
  5. Pathway to Teaching – Since moving to the Bay Area, I have been accepted as a member of the San Francisco Unified School District Pathway to Teaching Program. This will allow me to get a CA certification while working in the district. I have met dozens of other teachers who are new to the Bay Area and it has already turned out to be a great community of leaders.
  6. The Daring English Teacher – I love lesson planning, but sometimes I need an inspirational push. The Daring English Teacher is another one of my go-to Instagram accounts for getting the inspiration that I need.
  7. Flipped Learning – This Twitter account focuses on the concept of Flipped Learning. I try to used a Flipped Learning approach when I can in my classroom, and this Twitter is a source of information, inspiration, and resources.

Practitioner Knowledge and Networked Inquiry

“… It is the questions, after all, that make real learning possible.” Allen & Blythe, 2004

It’s Sunday morning and my cat is on my lap as I drink my morning coffee and catch up on your blog posts for the last week or so. So many wonder wobbles and reflections on wobbling; I am filled with appreciation for all the ways you are sharing and contributing to the community here at ed677 and beyond. Thank you.

Thank you too for understanding my delays given the loss in our family and for your emails. The work of teaching takes our whole selves so it is important to acknowledge what’s happening and where the tensions lie in our work that come from all sorts of directions.

Keep paying attention to what’s happening in your own lives and those of your students, keeping notes as you go. These wobbles raise questions. And the questions will support us in connecting our learning in new and different ways as we move towards inquiry questions that we can work on throughout the rest of the semester.

The week ahead …

Let’s start first with some additional inspiration for our flowing and connecting: What, for example, can we learn from the genius of Hip-Hop?

More here with Chris Emdin about Hip-Hop in education:

Reading/Watching

Let’s take this week to focus on ways of staying fresh, learning from each other, and being resourceful. How do we do that? One way is by continuing to notice where we wobble, to ask ourselves questions about these moments, and begin to take an “inquiry stance” around our practice. Read At Last: Practitioner Inquiry and the Practice of Teaching: Some Thoughts on Better by Susan Lytle.

Using the notes from your pose/wobble/flows, and the questions that emerge from them, I would like you to start identifying an inquiry question (or set of questions) that will guide what you do the rest of the semester. Inquiry questions tend to be the kind that keeps you up at night (or wake you up in the morning) … ones that emerge when you as you pose/wobble/flow… that which you seek to make “better”. What keeps you up, in your context, when you think about designing for connected learning and equity?

Again, make notes to yourself — In what ways do you see this educator-blogger wobbling? What are the ways they are doing this in public networked spaces? What are the implications?

Now I’d like you to look back at your questions and thinking about how you might bring equity into the mix. This selection of writings, Making Equity Explicit in Inquiry and Examining Questions of Equity in Teaching from a 2006 NWP resource Teaching Towards Equity can support you in thinking about what this might look like. Pick a 1-2 of these essays here to read closely in support your process:

  • Finding Myself in My Inquiry: A Teacher’s Story by Sarah Capitelli
  • Building on Success: Changing Our Practice to Better Serve African American Students by Pirette McKamey
  • Leading from Personal Experience: Autobiography as a Foundation for Developing African American Teacher Leadership by Gwendolyn Williams
  • An East Oakland Odyssey: Exploring the Love of Reading in a Small School by Elena Aguilar
  • Taking Tests by Robert Roth
  • Learning to Listen: Supporting Classroom Teachers Through Collaborative Inquiry by Oreather J. Bostick-Morgan
  • Learning to Teach Elementary Mathematics: Inquiry in Preservice Teaching by Marcie Osinsky

Find one more story to dig into here at The Current. Where do you see the inquiry and questions of equity in these pieces? A few resources I suggest include:

Blogging/Making

Blog this week — using text, drawing, video, sound, collage, etc. — about the inquiry questions that start to surface for you as you pose/wobble/flow your way around being a connected learner or about connected learning and equity. It doesn’t have to be fully formed yet .. start to wonder about your wonders and wobbles and see where that leads you in your making.

(See a new discussion posted in Canvas about a “Loop Writing” process you might want to try in thinking more about your inquiry question/s.)

Finding 5/6/7

In addition to writing a blog about your inquiry above, find 5/6/7 resources that might relate to the questions you are asking about connected learning and equity. Take the time and go back through what you have referenced or gathered so far, tap into the sources I’ve been drawing from each week for our shared readings/watchings, as well as each others blogs. Richness abounds!

Gathering

Our next online gathering is this Tuesday, February 26 at 7pm ET. Here is a link to Bluejeans and a related document (we will be doing some “loop writing” together, just fyi); looking forward to seeing those who can make it there!

In connected learning solidarity,
Christina

Search Seven Sunday

This week our focus is on Pose, Wobble, Flow. The main concept behind this is that as educators we are constantly adapting and changing to meet the ever-changing needs of our students. However, in order to be the most effective we can be, it takes some reflection and some “wobbling” to determine what truly works. Sometimes we have to rely on other resources to help us find the “flow”. 

#1 - Kappa Delta Pi - Kappa Delta Pi is an education honors society. I was inducted into this society back in 2013 when I was in undergrad at Seton Hall. This society offers many different resources for educators, professional growth opportunities, webinars, and topics of discussion that can be helpful in gaining insight and ideas from educators everywhere.

#2 - What it Means to Pose/Wobble/Flow - This is the article that I am referencing in my intro for this week’s resources. It also talks about how this system doesn’t have an “endpoint” but is meant to be a system that is continuously used throughout one’s teaching career to continuously adapt and find efficiency and reaching all students. 

#3 - 10 Free Ways to Grow as an Educator - This was a source that I found through a classmate’s “Find 5 Friday” resources and I thought that it listed lots of helpful and useful resources that it was worth sharing again. You can view my classmate’s blog Syke’s Science and Connected Learning here

#4 - 12 Art Teachers to Follow on Insta - In a previous post I talked about how I loved referring to Cassie Stephen’s blog and instagram for ideas. However, I follow a bunch of other art teachers on instagram as well to get a variety of inspiration for projects, classroom management tips, ideas for resources around the room, etc. This article by the Art of Ed lists some art teachers that they think are worth giving a look at for inspiration and ideas. 


The other aspect of what we were to focus on for our blog’s this week is where we talk about our personal mentors and allies that support us when we wobble. So the next couple “resources” I’m going to list are not ones that can be linked to a website, but maybe relate to other’s own personal networks.

#5 - My coworkers - These are the people that work with the same exact students that I do, they battle some of the same problems, and are trying to make the same individuals successful. It only makes sense to talk to the team that you work with, they are most likely going through the same wobbles related to the same students. Brainstorm together! Or if you’re lucky, there might be a coworker that’s already found a successful solution. It is very helpful to talk to these people.

#6 My students - Sometimes if the “wobble” is coming from trying to get a specific student motivated or helping them with a specific topic in class, talking with that student individually to get feedback about their thoughts, their motivators, and their frustrations can help build rapport and give you some of the answers you’ve been looking for - and all that was needed was just a conversation. Other times speaking with the parents/guardians of the student can be useful in determining solutions as well.

#7  - Friends who are Teachers - I’m fortunate that through college I have maintained a decent amount of friendships with individuals who also teach. Sometimes it’s good to get ideas from people who work in different settings, especially if the “wobble” can’t really be worked out with coworkers for a variety of reasons. 

Pose, Wobble and Flow

There are years that ask questions, and years that answer. This quote by  Zora Neale Huston certainly rings true. This year for me is definitely a year that is asking questions and has caused me to wobble. Between working full time, taking two graduate courses each semester, raising three boys, and adjusting to my husband’s new job which has him traveling 3 weeks out of each month, it has been a challenge to find my flow. Initially I felt like I didn’t know which way was up and this left me feeling stressed and burnt out. But taking a step back has allowed me to center myself and focus on what is most important, those poses that keep me grounded and help me find my flow.

At home it has been focusing on my children first, which might seem like no brainer and yet as a teacher and a student, so many times work takes precedence. There is always something to be done or some nagging feeling that instead of hanging with my kids I should be writing plans, grading papers, designing a new lesson, or doing work for grad school. This week, I had to take a step back and refocus on what is most important. By spending time with kids and playing an epic 2-day long Monopoly game, I realized that instead of feeling stressed that work should’ve been getting done, I felt refreshed. My work would still be completed, I could still find time to take care of my other responsibilities, but my kids knew that they came first and that was what mattered most. This was an eye-opener for me and a much needed one at that.

At work I have had a similar realization. So many times we as a teachers get caught up no matter how we might try to resist, in the never-ending demands of the curriculum. This can take away from building those essential relationships and connections in the classroom. I have felt myself wobbling as a teacher over the last couple of months. It took some reflection on my part to realize that perhaps I had let slip some of those community building activities and strategies that helped to shape our classroom family at the beginning of the year. Over the last two weeks I have slowed things down. Our morning meeting takes precedence, our class brain breaks are non-negotiable, our focus on being mindful has been reestablished and I have begun to feel that the wobbling has lessened. We are once again focused on being a family.

In reading Climbing into their Skin  by Jonelle Warnock and Not What I Imagined, I was able to relate to the feelings that both educators shared. It made me realize that so many teachers have spent time wobbling and that is not something to feel badly about. A former principal once shared with me as I was struggling to reinvent my reading block, that the struggle is where the learning happens. He was absolutely right, and this wobble that I felt this year has made me reflect and grow as a person and a teacher.

Educational Wobble Reflection

I took time to pay extra attention to my struggles that I experienced this past week in my school. I organized these struggles below and prioritized them from most personally scrutinized to least.  I found that I struggled especially with the the first three above the rest on this list.

1.)   Extreme feeling of being overwhelmed by dozens of “extra needy” children during class activities-  I get asked too many questions about the work, one after another, which is extremely time consuming.  I am the only professional in the classroom for that class and I feel that I don’t have enough time to meet all of their needs.  I need to be “zen-like” to succeed.

2.)   Covering Classes that I do not know- this has just become a struggle recently when many many teachers have been out on serious medical leave for weeks.  Usually not enough substitutes come for the day which causes administration to spring a “coverage” on the teachers at the very last second. This causes me to struggle with organization for my classes that day.  I also struggle with dealing with students from classes I am not familiar with and trying to get them to actually do work.  Again a certain pose of calmness could benefit me.

3.)   Diverse Class loves to argue- I have one class that has developed into a major problem in the last couple weeks due to students being transferred in.  The students are respectful to me but are extremely disrespectful to each other. The class loves to argue with each other and it usually is centered around different cultures.

4.)   Making time for push-in staff- I am usually so involved with working with my students that I tend to ignore the push in staff.

5.)   Allowing students to go to the bathroom has begun to get tricky because of all the students who walk the halls and start trouble.

I think that each of my struggles above can create a new pose for me.  I have a certain mentality when it comes to my classroom.  My way of thinking sometimes gets challenged such as in the struggles listed above.  Sometimes I expect things to run smoothly and have a specific flow to them and when things go different from the plan, the “wobble” part begins.

I like to think that I have a calming, problem solving pose that I present to my class but when problems arise like the ones above, I have to step out of my comfort zone to deal with something unexpected.  

           As I sit back and make inquiries on my wobbles, I realize that reflecting on the unexpected challenges is something I do all of the time as a professional educator.  I just never called it a pose/wobble/flow and so forth.  The insights that I am discovering from my inquiry have been about mainly focusing on staying in a calm pose as much as humanly possible. Everything will work out as long as a teacher can keep the emotion levels down and stay focused on the problem at hand.  Sometimes it may not be humanly possible while dealing with some the kids in my class, but it has become a main focus to grow from my wobble.  I get an anxious uncontrollable feeling that starts to creep into my head when things don’t go the way I planned.  The same sensation many other teachers experience most likely I’m sure.  Another insight from my inquiries was the understanding that everything will be fine in the long run.  The wobble feeling will pass and a solution will present itself if reflection is present. I am realizing this fact more and more as I experience struggles throughout my career.  When I experience something that causes a wobble, at the moment, it is not fun, however any wobble allows for professional growth. From wobbles throughout my career, I feel that my amount of poses has expanded countless times.  The moments of wobble allow for reflection which in turn allows me to build from the experience.  Simply put, there are some circumstances that cannot be adequately addressed immediately, but with time, an educator can learn when these wobble moments occur and how to build from them.

           I experience the “flow” when things are going according to schedule or when I successfully diffuse an unexpected situation wherever that may be.  Basically anytime I gain a sense of pride and accomplishment is the times when I am “feeling the flow”.  Granted, this does not happen too often in my school setting, but when it does, it is so sweet to experience.  Sometimes the kids give me such a sense of pride and happiness which, in turn, tells me that I am doing at least something right.  There are just times where I get into such a groove that nothing can affect me even when a wobble occurs.  When I am in the flow, situations don’t seem to arise as often.  Perhaps the students pick up on when teachers are in that type of groove.  

           When I begin to reflect on my student’s work, a range of emotions set in.  Some kids in my class complete perfect work.  Some of my other students understand the concepts but struggle to complete quality work.  Then there are the ones who choose not to do the work for whatever reason.  So it is tough for me to pinpoint exactly what my classroom’s overall culture is because of how severely different my students can be. If I could describe my kids into three categories based off of the pose/wobble/flow concept, I could describe the students who produce quality work as my students that are in the flow.  They have a sense of accomplishment with their tasks and that rubs off on me.  My average classes can be described as my normal pose.  I say this because they know what kind of mindset I have and what kind of mindset they need to have to be successful in my class.  They put in effort but the quality of work is just not there yet. These kids are striving to be better still though.  Then you have the wobble.  The kids that purposely don’t do the work.  These are the same kids that create most of the problems in the first place. One good quality I have as a teacher is understanding who my students are.  After reading the wobble article, I came to an understanding that without these types of problematic kids giving me so many crazy circumstances over the years or creating a wobble for me to deal with, I might not have grown to who I am now as an educator.  This was the point in my reflective thought that I was finally able to understand why the wobble is so important for development.  

           The wobble just like everything else so far in this connected learning can be directly related to connected learning and equity.  The wobble concept is essentially a way where a teacher can build skills that are lacking in areas through experience and reflection.  This allows educators to develop better strategies and learn more about their identity in the classroom.  When a teacher learns from a wobble, a new pose can be created which will help student learning in some way.  When teachers experience enough wobbles, teachers can gain a stronger understanding on how their students work.  The more understanding a teacher has with how the students function in school, the more that equity can be achieved.  Equity is about proper accessibility and understanding for ALL students.  When a teacher has a strong understanding of how their students function, the teacher can use their new found ideas to build interest in the classroom.  Teachers must always reflect and build before forming an idea of how the class will react to different lessons.  This happens to all teachers when still feeling out each class at the beginning of the year.  Throughout the school year teachers will experience wobbles from the class and learn from it.  Thus building a stronger idea of what interest’s students and how to connect all the students in the class to a certain subject concept.


Here are  2 Wobble Stories for the Website STORRI from real educators that I enjoyed:


https://edblogs.columbia.edu/storri/2016/04/07/context-matters/

 Context Matters

This is a great story that helps teachers understand that a specific message from administration or another teacher does not mean it’s the overall message for all teachers.  Teachers want to help students in different ways and have different motivation tactics to help students gain an understanding. This story shows how students can interpret things differently and associate a message, good or bad, with all teachers and staff from the building.  The teachers’ wobble is all about context for message meanings within schools.  The way people say things or express something can send mixed messages to students which can affect other teachers.

 

https://edblogs.columbia.edu/storri/2016/11/08/knowing-the-why/

Knowing the Why

This story actually from the same author as my first suggestion is about inquiry. Administration wants things run a certain way and teachers must go along with it even if they don’t understand or agree. The simple question of “why” may seem harmless but could cause problems if taken the wrong way.  The author asked the question why about curriculum for her poetry class out of pure innocent curiosity but not everyone you ask that question to will be understanding.  This wobble is something I experience as well.  Like the author mentions, sometimes I want to ask the question why for a better understanding, but it could be taken a different way.  For me the inquiry remains within for those reasons but it is a wobble nonetheless.

Find 5 Friday

It’s Friday… you know what that means!

image

Here’s what I have for this week with a focus on P/W/F and supportive communities:

  1. Stirring Up Justice: Writing and Reading to Change the World - this was a source presented in “What it Means to Pose, Wobble, and Flow.” The title sounded interesting to me, so I decided to read the abstract/summary of it and it sounds very interesting. The idea that using skills such as reading and writing as a foundation to make positive changed is something that I feel is overlooked. While this isn’t a person to connect with and help me when I wobble, finding sources and books that people write which challenge my thinking really inspire me to continuously learn and grow through the wobble. 
  2. NOT about an endpoint! I loved this important idea presented in What it Means to Pose, Wobble, Flow. There is no endpoint in any realm of professional development, especially in any profession that deals with people! There is always going to be changes, new personalities, and things to learn. Sometimes we might be able to face the wobble before it even happens to us by working with our networks which leads me to..
  3. I really loved Jullette’s Find 5 which is focused on mentors and networks. I am sharing a professional network that has really helped me through my ‘wobbles’ in regards to applying to graduate programs and summer internships for higher education. It’s actually a Facebook group with professionals, graduate students, and prospective students who want to go into higher education. It’s been such a great resource for me at this point in my life, through all my wobbles, thank you Jullette for making me realize what a great resource this truly has been for me!
  4. City Fit Girls is a group that I recently got involved with which is helping me through my wobbles on my fitness journey. Right now, I am training to run a 15k, so it is really important for me to stay on my training schedule. When I’m feeling really un-motivated, and like I will never reach my “flow” I connect with people in this group over social media and it encourages me to keep pushing forward and provides me with tips and advice to progress in my journey.
  5. I am a member of Arcadia’s chapter of Kappa Delta Pi - the international honor society in education. Kappa Delta Pi has discussion forums which give pre-service and practicing teachers an opportunity to present issues that might arise in their classrooms, things that cause them to “wobble.” This is a good professional outlet in which to gain insight, because as “Pose, Wobble, Flow” says, we aren’t meant to go it alone!

My Experiences as an Educator with Pose, Wobble, and FlowLearning and wobbling in connected learning…

My Experiences as an Educator with Pose, Wobble, and Flow

Learning and wobbling in connected learning communities is a necessity for students to make personal progress.  The pose, wobble, and flow framework reminds me of a young child when he/she first learns to walk.  First, the child learns to “pose” in a standing position with legs straight by pulling up on furniture and then eventually letting go.  Then, the child walks in a way that resembles a penguin “wobbling” along the ice. Finally, the child gets the hang of putting one foot in front of the other and walks with a steady “flow.” The implications of wobble for learning and equity are to realize that all students will wobble at different paces and for different reasons.  As educators, we must help our students realize that we all “wobble” during the learning process.  We can provide our students with more equity by finding out why he/she is “wobbling” and how it connects to them personally.  We can also support our students as they wobble until they achieve a flow where they feel comfortable going on their own.

In order to share my own experiences as an educator with the pose, wobble, and flow framework, I created the chart below about two different scenarios I worked with in my own classroom.

Find 5 Fridays! Who helps me when I wobble…

I’m one of those teachers who never has their stuff together. It might be because I’m still a new teacher and have lots to learn…or it’s just part of my personality. I always need a support system for when I wobble and I have highlighted my professional five. My first 3 are my in-person resources, whom I talk to on a weekly, if not daily, basis. The last two are teachers I connected with through instagram. 

1.  My undergrad professor Dr. B

Dr. B was my professor for my first education class in undergrad and was later in two more of her classes by the time I graduated. We are still in touch every week and she is someone I can always go to when I have any sort of classroom struggles. Dr. B was the first person to teach me the importance of self-reflection in order to become a better teacher (and person) overall. 

2.  My friend and colleague Ms. F

A super amazing teacher I graduated college with, who now teaches in a school district on Long Island. We are both the super unorganized teacher type and are constantly chatting with each other about our daily woes or any problems we are having. When I have an issue or question about content specific things, Ms. F is my go to wobbling supporter. 

3. My personal supporter and classroom management expert Ms. B

Ms. B and I are in different fields as she is in elementary special ed and I’m middle school English, but let me tell you this woman is the brightest ray of positivity in my teaching life. She works super hard, keeps her sense of humor, and is a pro at classroom management. She is my end all personal rock and never judges me when I wobble. Even though she is someone who is most definitely more organized than I am, Ms. B never judges and does her best to support me. A true teacher-friend MVP!

4. Instagram wobble supporter and great teacher @missbertels_ 

Bertels’ instagram is a public profile where she discusses every facet of being a middle school English teacher. She does daily stories where she breaks down her lessons, struggles, and inspirations. She also provides a lot of really great ELA resources and is an advocate for flexible seating if you want to learn more about that. Go check her out on instagram @missbertels_

5. Instagram teacher & book lover @booksandbeyonce  

This 5th grade Houston teacher is amazing when it comes to supporting reading in the classroom. She honestly provides the BEST book recommendations for students across the board and for teachers in the classroom or for leisure reading. She is an activist for diversity in the classroom and more support for her ESL and Mexican-American students. She also has a really cute dog and is a lover of bagels. Find her on instagram @booksandbeyonce 

Stories from Storri about “Wobbling” as an Educator

For my ED 677 Equity in Education course, I was asked to pick 2 stories about “wobbling” as an educator from project of Dr. Fecho’s called Storri at Teachers College at Columbia University.  Here are my summaries and “takeaways” for the two stories I chose to read:

Privileged Expectations

By Jason P. Augustowski, M.Ed.

Mr. Augustowski shares his story about shifting his instructional style based on student feedback. When he taught middle school, he used an approach called “Curriculum Menu” where students would pick 2 of the VA Standards of Learning per quarter to study and create formative and summative assessments to show mastery.  However, when he moved into the high school, he quickly learned from students and parents that they thought this method created a heavy workload that was stressful because “college prep” was the focus for them.  Therefore, Mr. Augustowski decided to change his instructional method from “The Curriculum Menu” to “The Classroom Office.” This new method allowed students to work in different “departments” each quarter, such as being in charge of weekly discussion boards about texts from class, helping design English instruction, analyzing student work, and creating weekly newsletters for parents about the learning that took place each week.

My “takeaway” from Mr. Augustowski is that educators should create learning opportunities where students are “actively engaged, collaborating, creating authentic products, and using real world skills.”  


Climbing into Their Skin

By Jonelle Warnock  

Jonelle Warnock tells us that, “hearing about the real lives of my students makes me wobbly. But it also makes me more determined to be a positive forty-four-minute moment in their lives.”  As Jonelle “wobbled,” she realized that her students all came from different home-life situations from taking care of younger siblings to living between households as a result of divorce, or parents being in jail.  She decided that she should be less concerned about curriculum details and more concerned about making sure her students “feel cared for and secure.”  She wants to show her students that reading can help them learn about new places and times, and writing can help them in any “future endeavor.”

My “takeaways” as an educator from Jonelle are that my lessons “need to be purposeful,” and I need to continue to learn new approaches to teaching.  According to Jonelle, this will help make my students feel “less wobbly and more steady.”

Stories from Storri about “Wobbling” as an Educator

For my ED 677 Equity in Education course, I was asked to pick 2 stories about “wobbling” as an educator from project of Dr. Fecho’s called Storri at Teachers College at Columbia University.  Here are my summaries and “takeaways” for the two stories I chose to read:

Privileged Expectations

By Jason P. Augustowski, M.Ed.

Mr. Augustowski shares his story about shifting his instructional style based on student feedback. When he taught middle school, he used an approach called “Curriculum Menu” where students would pick 2 of the VA Standards of Learning per quarter to study and create formative and summative assessments to show mastery.  However, when he moved into the high school, he quickly learned from students and parents that they thought this method created a heavy workload that was stressful because “college prep” was the focus for them.  Therefore, Mr. Augustowski decided to change his instructional method from “The Curriculum Menu” to “The Classroom Office.” This new method allowed students to work in different “departments” each quarter, such as being in charge of weekly discussion boards about texts from class, helping design English instruction, analyzing student work, and creating weekly newsletters for parents about the learning that took place each week.

My “takeaway” from Mr. Augustowski is that educators should create learning opportunities where students are “actively engaged, collaborating, creating authentic products, and using real world skills.”  


Climbing into Their Skin

By Jonelle Warnock  

Jonelle Warnock tells us that, “hearing about the real lives of my students makes me wobbly. But it also makes me more determined to be a positive forty-four-minute moment in their lives.”  As Jonelle “wobbled,” she realized that her students all came from different home-life situations from taking care of younger siblings to living between households as a result of divorce, or parents being in jail.  She decided that she should be less concerned about curriculum details and more concerned about making sure her students “feel cared for and secure.”  She wants to show her students that reading can help them learn about new places and times, and writing can help them in any “future endeavor.”

My “takeaways” as an educator from Jonelle are that my lessons “need to be purposeful,” and I need to continue to learn new approaches to teaching.  According to Jonelle, this will help make my students feel “less wobbly and more steady.”