Day 42 (of 186) even a sick day is a learning day
I don’t like taking sick days. But I also have to be aware that I don’t want to infect and affect my classroom or students. So I needed to take a day to get my cough and flu under control.
Knowing that my class is made up of students who do not like change. So that means we need to work on this skill….
Knowing that I need to plan for a TTOC whose teaching style is likely not like mine (my LRT now laughs any time I start saying that I do things [like french class] a bit different – as she clarifies – most things are different(iated)) as I structure ever lesson to be inclusive of a wide variety of learners.
And knowing that I need to walk my talk about giving our students the best we have- and the reminder that on airplanes when the oxygen masks fall, you put yours on first and then help others. I gotta be at 100% before I can give 100%.
(but the blog-each-day-of-learning continues even if its only a “plate appearance”)
Day 41 (of 186) the first snowfall
Even we don’t usually get snow this early. My kids at home commented that it wasn’t that long ago we thought we’d be having a ‘green christmas’ and have to mow the lawn – but winter came early – ironically right after the Holly channel debuted on Siriusxm (also early this year….)
But it also let me take advantage of a teachable moment – because a) even though the first snow is awesomely exciting and distracting for all of us in the classroom and b) there are also some things to be worried about and I am working with Taming the Worry Dragon with my class and another
The white stuff brings up some common concerns: winter driving in particular.
So for both classes, I was able to bring out “worries” versus “concerns”. There are always some slips and slides on the first day of snow – even though in BC we are required to have winter tires (not all season) when going through passes into the interior and beyond (where I live) many wait until the snow lands before changing their tires (and too many rely on “all-season” tires not realizing that means “3/4 seasons” – gotta have the snowflake symbol. And we talked about ‘being winter ready’.
We talked about how it is good to be worried/anxious during changing driving conditions because snow driving should mean slow driving. I also asked who was absolutely definitely going to be in an accident – and when a few raised their hands we got to talk about what “will” happen and what “might” happen. We want to be prepared for what might happen but be aware that we don’t want to over-feed these worries. The odds are we will all be safe and sound on the first day of snow because this is not the first year we have experienced snow.
It’s important during worry/anxiety time to think back to the times we did not die. It may seem a tad ‘trite’ but it is a legitimate worry that the anxious brain can feed in to – the snow has turned to ice and our vehicle is going to go off the road and explode like cars do on tv.
It’s also good to remember and be mindful that what for some is exciting (catching snowflakes on tongues) can be terrifying for others (the snowflakes will mean we have to sleep in the school). Both thinkings are valid, but we have to be aware of how to compare our worries with what is more likely to happen as well.
Glad it snowed on my “Dragon Day” – meant for some great teachable conversations!
Day 40 (of 186) #Movember
Much to the chagrin of the ladies in my house, #movember has come and my razor has been put away. My wife and daughters are not thrilled with my ‘scruffiness’ coming out, but it is for a good cause:
#Movember – raising awareness for mens health (especially mental health) and for suicide awareness – of which too many males are succumbing to. Over the years I have lost friends of all ages, foster children and former students to suicide – in large part because talking about mens (mental) health is not easy for us.
In previous years I have supported others who let their facial hair flow, but this year I am putting myself out there – as a man willing to talk about mental and physical health because it may help my friends and it will help my son. And I do not ‘sign up’ for fundraising activities often – this is my first time raising funds for mens help – and whether I collect money or not, I will be spending this month sharing on topics related to mens (and boys) health.
I have been encouraged by the sharings of people like @heylandsburg and others who have been willing to share what health issues they had been dealing with ‘in secret’ – and the problem is that (men in particular) there are too many secrets which has led to a nervousness in sharing because:
don’t be a wuss
get over it
that’s not what a man would do
our culture has
a) encouraged men to not talk about health and
b) reduced ‘dads’ (thanks to TV) to non-leaders who are often foolish.
This needs to change. Men need to be shown as vulnerable role models. Individuals who treat others (ALL others) with dignity and respect. This is in part why the #metoo campaign has been supported by many people (men and women) to raise the awareness of how we have treated each other. We need to be able to talk about what angsts and health issues (mental and physical) we have experienced in order to help ‘the next generation’ (and the generation after that and the next 7 generations) be healthier in both mind and body.
If you see something, say something; if you’ve gone through something – share as well – strategies that helped you may help others who don’t know who (or what) to ask.
Day 39 (of 186) halloween independence?
It was great to see my daughter head out on halloween with her friends…..and no parents….to sneak around the neighbourhood for candy. I freely admit that I am more willing than many other parents to let my kids out by themselves (even/especially when they don’t want to). It’s sometimes hard to believe (based on news) but this is the safest era to be a kid than any other point in history – but based on news, any story can feel like a “local” event.
Now even though I’m a proponent of “free range kids”, I am also cognizant of “age appropriateness” and “guided, gradual release of responsibility” – both in the classroom and in real life. I wouldn’t drop my kids off in downtown Calgary and tell them to get to (random address) because we don’t spend a lot of time in Calgary. They might be able to figure out Vancouver, but even then – living in a smaller community I feel much more confident letting my youngest ride public transit here than I would in another community – because she has practiced this and has demonstrated that she ‘can’. Now, if my kids were to say they ‘wanted to’, I’d probably give them the opportunity to see if the skills they have learned here can be TRANSFERRED to another community. It’s also why I am supportive of the dad who got in trouble for letting his kids ride transit home from school on their own – after all, in more rural communities, we happily let kids walk home (alone!!) from school – and I wonder if our government is going to clamp down on schools letting students be on their own to-and-from school (can they even play in their own yards without an adult being present??) Should I have let my daughter go trick-or-treating with her friends (all responsible young ladies) even though she isn’t a teenager? I feel independent time can be very valuable, so I was proud that she wanted to go on her own!
So in the meantime, there is always some good observations that can be done at Halloween – can kids take skills they learn in one environment and transfer them to another. Can they act respectfully? (and my wife and I commented about how polite the kids coming for candy were this year – lots of thank yous and no eggs!) Will kids be mindful and avoid some houses (and some groups) because they can read external cues? Will they be a bit mischievous – because masks help hide the individual and allow us to try something “different” with the feeling that we are ‘unknown’ and anonymous. Sometimes it means being a superhero…sometimes a super villain…..but in either case, a sneak peek into someones core can be gleaned at this time of year! And anytime I can have an excuse to wear comfy “disguises” at school are always appreciated!
Day 38 (of 186) reflecting on my growth plan
Not sure if I’m happy with where I’m pushing myself….but I think I do need to get some more focused writing being done on anxiety and possibly a little more around eportfolios and descriptive feedback (and learner profiles)
Sigh….could do with some more hours in the day…..but then, that’s also why a Growth Plan should always be a ‘live document’ that can be adapted and re-aimed as needed!
Landy Personal Growth Plan 17:18
Day 37 (of 186) sigh….kids today…..(will nobody think of the children?!) thanks to @pernilleripp @shareski @freerangekids & @jonhaidt
Read two blogs that are worth reading and commentary on their own….both connect to school and society.
The first by the amazing @pernilleripp on reading – specifically reading for content vs reading for synthesis (and my takeaway: why do teachers who promote programs like Accelerated Reader often not promote reading for pleasure on tablets?)
The second was forwarded via @shareski
And looks very directly at the nanny culture we are currently living in. In B.C. the “recommendation” as seen by our MCFD taking a family to task for riding a bus home without a parent seems to be 12 – so I’ve asked the question about our grade 2-6 ish kids who walk from school or bus to home without an adult supervisor….are we creating “the fragile generation”? Written by @freerangekids & @jonhaidt
These two thinkings have really activated my brain – and I need them to be shared!
Day 36 (of 186) re Taming the Worry Dragon
I’ve been sneaking away from my class while they are in music and joining a Grade 2 Classroom. I had heard that there was some noticeable anxiety with the classroom so I offered to introduce one of my favourite picture-book styled Intervention: Taming the Worry Dragon https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/1591473144/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509216305&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=taming+worry+dragons&dpPl=1&dpID=51kmpp5bl5L&ref=plSrch
I appreciate how it brings a few key concepts around anxiety (but expands easily into other discussions around mental wellness).
I firmly believe that the more frequently and comfortably we talk about mental health the easier it will be to ask specific questions (this will be a common theme of mine in #Movember) and I am happy to start the conversation (appropriate for the age) in primary learning years – mindful that skills needed by anxious learners benefits all, which means it is very inclusionar – which means it meets my “what would @tweetsomemoore do” reflection question.
I particularly appreciate how the book admits that worries are okay (anxiety keeps us safe!) but too much attention focused on them makes them grow too big – and a connection to tomatoes is fun because I get to share that I hate tomatoes (so much so that I used to sell the tomato plants my dad grew the way other kids sell lemonade!) but I do like what tomatoes provide like ketchup soup and sauce – but I want to keep things under control because nobody wants so many tomatoes (worries) that they are everywhere – tomato cookies anyone?
I’m glad I’ve been able to bring this resource to more students and share that we can have fun while dealing with what can become a serious topic. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out – it compliments and connects nicely with other programs like Friends For Life (more on that later)!