Unshakeable Book Study- Chapter 20

It's been great doing this book study with my some other bloggy friends! Unshakeable is a fantastic, motivating book with real, practical ways to help teachers enjoy their jobs (almost) every day. Chapter 20 is the final chapter. so I thought I'd leave you with a few final thoughts and images as we start thinking about, or already teaching, this new school year.

 It's true what Angela Watson says about this, "Most of us are too busy to regularly- or ever- step back from our daily routines and reflect on what is and isn't working." Next year I'd like to make myself sit down for a few minutes at the end of the day and think about the day, maybe make a few notes for the next year, and let myself appreciate what was accomplished that day. Think I can do it? I know it won't be as easy as it sounds, but it definitely will help me keep enjoying my job.
Right now what's working in my classroom is a few things I won't allow myself or anyone else to compromise:
1. giving myself permission to take time to talk with my students about THEM. That sounds so depressing, doesn't it? A few years ago we under pressure to stick to a schedule that gave us about 15 minutes per day to teach science, social studies, art, music, clean-up, put backpacks away, you get the idea. Let me tell you, that's miserable for the teacher and the kids! If we spend 20 minutes just talking to each other about what kids what to talk about it's ok by me. I get to know them, they get to know me, and everything's good!
2. Playing games! Math work stations, partner word sorts, Scoot, SpellingCity.com, abcya.com, Go Noodle
3. Regular time for PE
4. Writer's Workshop- started this 2 years ago, did it a little more last year, and I love it! My kiddos get to choose their topics so they're extremely excited to write. They help each other proofread. I jsut love watching and listening to them interact with each other and their writing! It makes this teacher's heart very happy.
5. Daily 5- I'm tellin' you... I can't imagine ever NOT doing this! It's the best thing I've ever done in my classroom! Kids love it, I love it, and I see it building excitement about books, the desire to read, and along with that comes improvement in reading.

***What is one of the very best things you've added to your teaching repertoire?

This made me laugh

Yesterday I wrote about having been burned out and not enjoying my job a few years ago. Angela suggests finding a PD book to read, taking on a new school committee, or challenging yourself to do something new in your room as a way to shake things up and make things new again.

Angela writes,"...trust that you'll be able to handle whatever comes your way."
That's not easy and can be very scary!
Last year was my first experience with 1:1 technology in the classroom. It forced me to try things even though I didn't know what the outcome might be. I'm the kind of teacher who tries to think through the possible problems and pitfalls in order to try to prevent them so this was extremely uncomfortable for me. One day I tried using Google docs with my 2nd graders. I had no idea if what I was planning was something they could really do. Well, what we tried didn't work. I was honest with my kiddos about not knowing how it would work out and when it didn't they were flexible and change gears with me and we just did the project a different way.
I'm not saying that was the best thing to do, but we all made it through the experience and it gave me the courage to try other things even when I wasn't sure of the outcome.

Angela writes about choosing the things you do as a teacher based on what is best for kids rather than the fear of what your administrator or other teachers might say. She writes about a time she didn't use workbook pages like she was told to but presented her principal with results that showed the children learned what they should have using other methods. Turned out the principal was very impressed with what she had done rather upset about the lack of workbook use.

I had to laugh reading this chapter. Have you ever been presented, trained it, and directed to use a program only to have it replaced with something else after only a year or two?
Angela writes," Don't internalize this pressure, my friends. Be kind to yourself."
Something for me work on. I'm sure I'll be re-reading this chapter.

The main idea here is not to let little failures keep you from forging ahead. Last year we had WBT training so I went back and tried Teach, OK the very next day. It didn't go well and I never tried it again. Hmmm..... maybe I should.

I hope this next school year will be a fun adventure for all of us! Some of my classroom set-up and possibly our PD day may not be much fun. There will be lots of paperwork, supplies to sort through, etc. but as Angela writes,"Watching kids learn is the greatest adventures you'll ever have." Here's to a great adventure! Let's

Thank you to Jessica from Tales of a First Grade Teacher for introducing me to this book and inviting me to be part of this book study. Please check out the other posts from Jessica, Cassie, Brittany, and Sandy on their fabulous blogs! (if you haven't already :)

Fearless in Fifth

If you're interested in more about Unshakeable by Angela Watson, she has tons of resources on her website. Just click on the image of her book. There is also a Facebook group doing a book study too.

1 comment

  1. Sounds like a very worthwhile read. Here's to a great, adventurous new year!


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