Some questions…and one piece of advice


Dear Mr. Sparks,

     Why do you always kill off one of your characters?  That isn’t exactly what I needed this morning, but I should have known better.  I have been listening to The Best of Me for the past few days.  At first I saw a lot of similarities to The Notebook: star crossed teen love, pretentious parents, letting go to come back together later in life.  Eventually I stopped thinking of the similarities, but why does death of a character need to be in every book.  But, I guess the better question is, why do I keep reading your books when I know it will end with me crying?!

                                                                                                                         A fan


Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 9.39.16 PMDear,

     How did you know that I am short?  When JennieB was taken, you gave me “shortJennieB” as an alternative.  How did you know?




Dear Self,

Why did you not wake up to your alarm this morning?  I know that you set your alarm, but it wasn’t set this morning when you woke up, LATE.   Did you turn it off in your sleep?  Whatever happened…DON’T let it happen again!!!



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Dear New Teachers,

     I know that this job we love is difficult.  There will be days that you feel completely inadequate, ready to break down and walk out.  We all have them and I can’t say that these days stop with experience.  (They don’t.)   But, I promise, there will also be days that you will break through walls and help turn on light bulbs.  There will be days that you get emails from former students that make every day they made your head ache worth it.   Work hard, don’t forget you always have room to learn, and most importantly, please don’t give up.  These kids need us and you can do it.

                                                                                                              A Sixth Year Teacher


“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

– Martin Luther King Junior





Cognitive Coaching…Day 1

Contrary to popular belief, teachers don’t spend their summers doing absolutely nothing.  Today I spent the day in a professional development for cognitive coaching.  What is cognitive coaching you ask?  Well, it is “coaching” people to be self-directed.  People ebing other teachers, students, parents, and even spouses.  Hard to explain exactly just yet, still have one more day tomorrow.  As a way to reflect on my learning today, I’d like to share three things I learned today and how it will apply to my teaching and learning.

1.  5 States of Mind:  Consciousness, Craftsmanship, Efficacy, Flexibility, and Interdependence

These are five states of mind that Cognitive Coaching says exist. The strongest, most self-directed people will have a balance of all of these qualities and as a coach it is our job to develop all of these in our coachees.  (not a word?) Sound at all familiar?  As soon as she started talking about it, I totally thought of Divergent.  So I keep thinking:  My goal is to make everyone Divergent.

Application: I really have no idea how to encourage these states of mind in other people yet, but hopefully I will have an idea after tomorrow.  I hope to be a mentor this year to a new teacher and will be able to encourage “divergence” in my mentee.

2.  Repairing Broken Trust:  4 As of Absolution

Admit it, Apologize, Ask Forgiveness, Amend your Ways

Application:  Although this seems like common sense, I think this is a social skill that our third graders need taught and modeled.  I think that these four steps will help our students build and repair trust with their peers.  This will become part of our first six weeks of school.

3.  Mirror Neurons

Ever wonder why people get so involved in sports and start yelling at the TV? I definitely have!  Turns out it is because of mirror neurons, also known as “monkey see, monkey do neurons.”  Basically these neurons in our brain make watching someone do something the same as us doing it ourselves.  These neurons tie our actions to feelings, therefore resulting in empathy.  (Please forgive me if you know about this and my explanation isn’t completely clear.)  So, this leads a teacher to wonder if these have to do with why kids with autism have trouble with empathy.  According to the video we watched, it may be because people with Autism have broken mirror neurons?  This is interesting and I will be doing more research regarding this topic.

Application:  Culture is a result of imitation.  Our classroom culture will be a result of not just what we teach, but also what the students see.  Therefore, it is another reason that I must be aware of my actions because I am always being watched by young, growing eyes.


More learning to come tomorrow…