Sunday, August 2, 2015

Unshakeable-Chapter 4

Hi friends! Sorry that I have been mind has been on getting back into my classroom and getting ready for the new school year to begin (more on that in another post). Even though I haven't posted, I have been so anxious to get my thoughts out about chapter 4 of Unshakeable by Angela Watson. Each time I finish a chapter of this book, I think to myself..."this was the best chapter I've read yet" and I learn SO much from each one I finish.

Chapter 4 is all about PRIORITIES!! As a teacher, I am sure you have felt overwhelmed and stressed many many times, if not every day at some point. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that our job as a teacher is NEVER done. If you are like me, your to-do list is a mile long and growing day by day. So how do you make sure you get the most important things crossed off of that to-do list, while not adding a thousand more things in the process? The answer is prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!

Here are some key points/ideas I took away from Chapter 4:

These are just a few of the key points written in this chapter, and with each of these points comes AWESOME tips and tricks for making sure you stick to the suggestion given. Everything I read makes perfect sense and right now I'm re-reading and re-reading so this information will become ingrained in my brain for the year to come. I am excited about this year, and I am excited about becoming an "unshakeable" teacher! See you soon for ideas from Chapter 5!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Unshakeable-Chapter 3

Hello friends!
The more I read this book, the more I love it. If you haven't seen my previous posts, I am sharing my thoughts and ideas from the book Unshakeable by Angela Watson. It is such a great book, and as I've said before, I believe that EVERY teacher should read it! So, let's get started with Chapter 3...

Chapter 3 is all about establishing healthy habits for bringing work home and decompressing. Personally, I have a problem with the decompressing part. I am the type of person who lets things build up inside until I just want to blow up, but we all know that isn't healthy! :) I really learned a lot from this chapter about how and when to decompress. Angela talks about decompressing with ONE co-worker and how to choose that co-worker. As I've said before, I work with a building full of awesome people, but it is important that I find one person I can decompress with quickly on a regular basis. There are many reasons for this that she shares in the book. The one that stood out to me the most is the fact that "the more you talk about your problems, the more you allow those problems to take up space in your head." So, share that problem, find a solution, and LET IT GO. That's definitely the hardest part for me But, I have to. As teachers, we constantly have a thousand things on our plate (and that's just at school), and if we can't find ways to decompress and let things go, we are going to live a very stressed out and frustrated life, both at school and at home.

In my last post, I talked about how important it is to be efficient at work and how sometimes I might need to cut back on the socializing and chit chat and get to my room and WORK so that I am not spending hours after school or at home completing work. However, it is important that we still take the time to be sociable with our co-workers. Most of the time, they are the only ones who are going to truly understand what we are going through in this profession we all love. So, my goal is to keep a healthy balance. I can't spend every free minute I have socializing, but when I'm stressed or have an issue going on in my professional life, I DO need to reach out to others. A lot of times, they've been there and know just what to say to help me though it.

As far as bringing work home, a line that stood out to me was, "schoolwork tends to expand and take up however much time you allot, up to and including your entire evening or weekend." Isn't that the TRUTH? I can sit down to work on a lesson and 2 hours, 45 Pinterest posts, 15 blog readings, and 10 Teachers pay Teachers resources later, I'm still obsessing over this lesson. Please tell me I'm not the only one...
While all of these ways to reach out for resources and help from our teaching friends are WONDERFUL ways to collaborate, I have to remember to stay focused on the task at hand so that I am (again) making the most of my time.

One of my favorite things about this book is the fact that the author not only gives you so many ideas and truths to think about, but she also gives you advice on how to handle each one. For each issue or obstacle that could "shake us up" as teachers, she gives so many great tips for balancing and becoming a teacher that is NOT shaken up by these situations, even down to the task of assigning replacement thoughts in your mind for days you feel anxious or stressed about your workday. Trust me when I say I could write page after page about the advice she gives, but I want to save some of these tips for you to discover on your own as you read through the book.

Don't forget to pick up a copy of this book as soon as you get an opportunity. You will not regret it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Unshakeable-Chapter 2

Hi friends!
I am back to share more notes with you from the amazing book Unshakeable by Angela Watson. Check out my previous posts here and here. Today's post is rather short, but that doesn't mean this chapter isn't FULL of great information. Chapter 2 is all about using your time and energy wisely by making productive routines. I found myself needing some of this advice yesterday as I worked in my classroom to get things ready for the year ahead. I caught myself several times jumping from one task to another without completing the first. I stopped to look at the internet for some bulletin board ideas, then got sidetracked by checking my email, looking at Pinterest boards, and well from know it's downhill as far as getting ANYTHING done. However, I remembered what I had read in this chapter and was able to get back focused on the reason I was there and accomplished so much in such a short period of time.

One of the main keys Angela mentions at the beginning of the chapter is that "we have to let go of the misperception that working longer hours means we're accomplishing more or that we're more dedicated to the profession." She goes on to ask the question, "How many hours do you really work at school?" These are questions to definitely think about. I know my routine pretty much looks like the following: get to school early, go to the cafeteria to get tea/coffee, stop and talk to a few people, check my mailbox, talk to a few more people, then it's time for the day to start. The afternoons are pretty similar...usually I talk, check my email, reply to email, straighten things up, then it's time to go home.

I work with some of the BEST people ever, so it's hard to not get caught up in conversation a lot, but often that leaves me bringing work home, stressing about the next day or week of plans, and feeling like I accomplished nothing as far as my to-do list goes each day. Angela gives LOTS of great advice in Chapter 2 about how to use your time to de-stress, how to prioritize your to-do list, and how to schedule certain tasks for certain parts of the day to make your day most effective. I love this chapter. It is probably one I will read over and over again as I try to make the most of my time this school year. I have 2 babies at home and I am always anxious to get home to them after school each day, but I know I will feel a lot better and be able to spend more quality time with them if I have accomplished all that I need to at school.

What about you? What are some goals you have this year to make the most of the hours you are at school?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Unshakeable-Chapter 1

Hi friends!
Yesterday, I told you about a book I started reading a couple of weeks ago. I have almost finished it, but I am really enjoying taking my time and soaking in all of the advice, resources, and suggestions I have come across. I am so excited to start the school year and create some new habits to make me a more balanced person all around, and to not easily be "shaken" by circumstances or situations. I think this book appealed to me so much because of my personality type (I have a feeling a lot of you are going to know exactly what I am talking about). We will talk more about that in chapters to come...

Chapter 1 is all about sharing your authentic self so that you can bring passion and energy to your teaching. In this chapter, Angela talks about what it looks like to be your true self in the classroom and why that is so important. While acting and "putting on a show" is okay at times in order to get our students' attention, we must also be willing to be transparent with them and show them who we truly are. I couldn't help but think about times I have sat in workshops or professional development seminars. The times I felt most connected with the speaker was when they were sharing who they truly were as a person. Life experiences...funny moments...things that helped me relate to them. When I could relate to them, I felt like I walked away having learned so much.

Think about this through the eyes of our students. If all they see is someone who is anxious to get through the lesson, in a hurry to get all of the standards covered, reading straight from the lesson plans, etc etc...they are never going to relate and they will struggle to find meaning in what we are teaching. It is important that we stop to make their learning memorable by sharing a funny story or relating the topic to the outside world. As they begin to feel connected to us as people, they are going to open themselves up and learn so much more from us as teachers.

There are so many things that stood out to me in this chapter, but the above spoke the loudest! I am a somewhat shy person (until I get to know someone). I would definitely have called myself introverted when I first began teaching. While I have come a LONG WAY since I first started teaching, I am nowhere near extroverted now. One thing I struggle with the most is that I CONSTANTLY compare myself to others. Many times I have heard of teachers who dance, sing, rap, dress up, etc in their classrooms and I think to myself how much the kids must LOVE that! Then, I almost always start beating myself up for not doing the same. Why don't I dance or rap funny little things to my students?? (I have a feeling the first time I did, they would all be willing to tell you why)

Reading this chapter and especially the above highlighted part made me feel soooo much better. I have to realize that if I am real and authentic with my kids, they are going to love me for ME, not for someone I am imitating. Each of us has our own special qualities that make us the teachers we are. Those qualities paired with the love we have for our students will make us the absolute best teachers we can be if we will simply use them to build meaningful relationships with them. Plus, being yourself leaves you far less stressed than always feeling like you need to measure up to something that just doesn't match your personality. This doesn't mean be complacent, you should still always push yourself to be the best you can be and to grow as an individual and a teacher, but don't be fake with your students. JUST BE YOU!!!

What are your thoughts about this? Have any of you ever struggled with these kind of feelings? How do you share your TRUE authentic self with your students on a regular basis??

Friday, July 17, 2015


Hi friends!
I've been so excited and anxious to post my comments about an absolutely wonderful book I'm reading. The more I read, the more I think that every classroom teacher should read this book!
The book is Unshakeable and it is by Angela Watson. (Find out more about her, here)

It is by chance that I even picked this book up this summer.  I won a copy from Myranda at Keep Calm and Teach Fifth Grade, and when I read the summary, I knew it was a must read for me. I joined a Facebook study group that reads one chapter a day.  To be honest, though, I'm a couple of days behind because I have wanted to stop and genuinely reflect on all that is in each chapter. I plan to finish it before summer ends, but in the meantime I'm going to be posting my personal chapter highlights and can't wait to share all that I'm learning with each of you!

Is anyone else reading this right now?  Please comment and share your thoughts as I post each day. I am excited about all that we can learn from each other. 

P.S. If you do not have this book, go ahead and put it on your wishlist, order list, whatever you use. You will be glad you did!  You can order directly from Angela's site here, where she offers a lot of helpful resources as well. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Blog Launch Giveaway!

Happy Saturday friends!!!

I have some REALLY exciting news for you! I have teamed up with 7 other bloggers as we launch (or re-launch) our teacher blogs!!

Elizabeth from Fancy in Fifth contacted me about a week ago and we joined forces to find some other awesome ladies to share in this launch with us. And that's just what we found...6 other AWESOME and TALENTED ladies who have a passion for sharing and collaborating with other teachers just like we do! They are:

Haley from Miss L's Busy Bees
Alissa from Fun in Fifth
Stephanie from Learn, Lead, and Love

Together, we  decided to give away a $50 Erin Condren gift card and a $40 Tallahassee Sunday gift card!!

First, let's talk about Erin Condren. I must admit I was a little hesitant to dive into the EC planner world, but I recently won a gift card, ordered my life planner, and have loved it every minute since!  It's a perfect time to win some EC $$$ since she JUST released the new teacher planners!

The second part of the giveaway prize is something I've had on my personal wishlist for a while...a Tallahassee Sunday gift card! Have y'all seen the awesome creations made by these girls?  What better way to start a school day than seeing your name on a cute wooden pencil or apple customized to match your style?

It's so easy to enter, just check out the Rafflecopter below and make sure you rack up as many entries as possible. You are going to love these ladies, their blogs, Instagram accounts, and TpT stores!
The giveaway will run until next Saturday and a winner will be announced on Sunday, July 19th. Good luck!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July's Top Ten

Hey everyone! I've decided to link up with Hailey from The Third Grade Nest. This month's linky is Top Ten TV Shows (to watch while creating, grading, blogging, and lesson planning) and, well, I just couldn't pass this one up! :) So here goes...

Ok, I may have a problem...a serious problem...anyone notice anything about this list? I mean, I knew I loved reality TV, but the fact that 9 out of 10 of my favorite shows are reality...might mean that I need to broaden my horizons a bit when it comes to television. So help me out, friends! What are some non-reality TV shows that could find themselves on this list? What is on your list?