Sunday, December 31, 2017

Best of 2017: Top Ten Blog Posts


On this last day of 2017, I want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have read, commented, and shared blog posts this year. I continue to learn from all of you, and this blog is a huge part of my accountability, learning, and growth. 

I believe in reflection as a tool for growth, and this time of the year it is important to reflect on the year as we prepare for the new one. Going back through the posts from the year is an awesome way to look for patterns, new learning, and opportunities for goal-setting. I always look forward to re-reading and sharing the top ten posts with my readers. I hope you enjoy!



Thursday, December 28, 2017

Break out of your snow globe in 2018


One of my favorite movies is Lean on Me, in which Morgan Freeman played inner city high school principal Joe Clark. Do you remember this line from one of the students... "Mr. Clark don't play!" ??

I thought of this line as I read one of Dave Burgess' recent blog posts.



Saturday, December 23, 2017

A final reflection on 2017

As the year winds down, it’s a time for a final reflection of all that has happened and to make plans for the new year. 2017 was a year to remember, full of many personal and professional opportunities and achievements. 

My 3 words for 2017 were Pivot, Go, and Grow. These words truly guided me as the seasons changed, as one school year ended and another began, and as I leaned in to all that would come in 2017. I think as you read through my reflections, you’ll see these words echoing throughout. 






Tuesday, December 19, 2017

8 ideas for teaching listening and speaking skills


Literacy used to be defined as the ability to read and write. Today, it means so much more. Literacy today is about being able to read, write, listen, and speak effectively. Literacy strategies must be taught and used by students to understand and analyze information, summarize, and communicate, and it’s quickly becoming a collaborative activity. 

Speaking is an important skill, and it is more than oral presentations. 



Friday, December 15, 2017

20 ways to take care of yourself over the holidays


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The days leading up to the holiday break can be event-filled and stressful for educators. I want to encourage everyone to make time for self-care during the holiday break. We have to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

Here are some ideas for self-care over the holidays.


Be social

  • Write and send an encouraging email
  • Write and send a thank you note to someone who’s not expecting it
  • Invite a friend to meet you for coffee
  • Bake cookies for a neighbor or friend
  • Call a friend or relative 
  • Visit a nursing home

Nurture Yourself

  • Start your day like Jessica

Get creative


Finding time to nurture yourself can be a challenge. It's especially hard if you're not used to making yourself a priority.


How to create more time for yourself

  • Wake up 15-30 minutes before everyone else and meditate in the quiet
  • Get your coffee ready the night before so it is ready for you in the morning
  • Don’t check email until you’ve done your “chores” or “to-do list”
  • Turn off notifications on your phone & apps
  • Create “no electronics” times during the day
  • Consolidate your errands

I would love to hear how YOU take care of yourself over the holidays! Please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on twitter


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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Low-prep ways to incorporate writing activities in a lesson

Low-prep writing activities


When was the last time you got to be the student and the teacher?

Recently, our teachers attended a workshop where they got to be the student and the teacher. In the 45-minute workshop, they did 5 different low-prep writing activities as a student. Afterward, they put on their "teacher hats" as we discussed the activities and how they could be used in their classrooms.