What I’m Reading: “100 Years of American Short Stories” edited by Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitlor. While I love novels, I’m also a sucker for short stories. This particular complication is wonderfully organized by time period starting in 1915. Moore and Pitlor give a brief history of each author before their short story, which I think provides important context. I’ve only just started reading this 753 page behemoth but I’m enjoying it so far!
Building Confident Learners: Experiential learning. Provide actual context for learners whenever possible. If you’re learning about history, go to a historical home or monument. If you’re learning about science, DO a science experiment or explore nature. Physical and mental exploration are key in retention of information.
What Gives Me Joy: Travel. Although I’m not in a position to travel very far right now, I did visit Charleston with my mom when she was in town for Thanksgiving. American history (both beautiful and horrific) is imbedded in the city and I enjoyed learning more about our country’s past while there. Plus, time with my mom is always a plus!
What I’m Reading: A compilation of short stories by O.Henry. Born in Greensboro NC, not too far from Spartanburg, O.Henry is a master of the short story and of capturing the intricacies of the human experience.
Building Confident Learners: Praise when positive gains are made. If a student is struggling take notice of the small, or large gains they make by addressing what they’ve done correctly. No need to make up a compliment, just be mindful of their growth and let them know you see how hard they are working!
What Gives Me Joy: Baking. This week is my husband’s birthday and he loves cheesecake. As it happens, I also love cheesecake so it’s a win-win. To celebrate I made one, and we plan on sharing it with friends. As I’ve said before, there’s no greater joy than sharing a meal (or a cheesecake) with friends and family.
What I’m Reading: I’m listening to “My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante. It’s the story of a life long friendship between two girls beginning in Naples, Italy in the 1950s. I treasure my long term friendships-shout out to the buddies I’ve been hanging with since elementary and high school…you’re the best and I love you. Thanks for really knowing me. Needless to say, I’m enjoying Ferrante’s exciting and sometimes tragic story of Elena and Lila.
Building Confident Learners: Have fun! Learning is fun, although it sometimes gets a bad reputation for being a daunting process. Value curiosity, and model having fun while learning. It goes a long way!
What Gives Me Joy: Community and the arts. Last Thursday was The Art Bulbs Awards in Spartanburg. I was happy to be able to help hand out awards, and the event was a success. Look at all the amazing pieces of artwork represented in the Art Bulbs around town! And don’t forget to check out the Spartanburg Art Museum. Paper Worlds is on exhibit until December 10th so get yourself on over to SAM to check it out.
What I’m Reading: “Into the Magic Shop” by James R. Doty. Doty a neurosurgeon and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, writes about his rough childhood and his research into the connection between our brain, and our hearts. It gives practical instructions for meditation and empowers readers to take control of their emotional and physical lives. A great read!
Building Confident Learners: Take breaks when necessary. Sometimes it’s helpful to set a timer for work periods and another for break periods when working or studying for a period that is over an hour. This helps build in necessary brain brains without having to overthink it.
What Gives Me Joy: Family and local restaurants. My uncle and aunt stopped in town on their way to Charleston and we had lunch at The Farmer’s Table. It was great to spend a few hours with my Wisconsin family (who I miss) while enjoying a delicious meal!
What I’m Reading: “25 of the Most Exciting Picture Books of Fall 2017” by Devon Corneal. This is a quick review of 25 great children’s books coming out this fall. If you’re looking for something new to read at home or at school, follow the link to read about the books yourself!
Building Confident Learners: Read, read, read! Reading at home either with an adult or alone is the one of the easiest ways to develop literacy. Choose books that are interesting or new, and set aside specific time to snuggle up with a good book! You can check out the list above for some fun ideas.
What Gives Me Joy: Cooking and sharing a meal. Nothing is as comforting as a delicious meal shared with good family and friends. I’ve been enjoying planning meals to cook for the week and have found some fun new recipes in the process! Cooking with kids can be a great way to teach them to follow directions. It also provides a mini lesson in measurement while supporting teamwork.
What I’m Reading: “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith. As a friend of mine said, “This book is like comfort food.” It’s a wonderfully written coming of age story that takes place in 1930’s England. It captures adolescence beautifully by chronicling the journal entries of Cassandra, a teenage aspiring writer. Although not an academic text, I include it here because I believe it’s important to balance your reading list with both fiction and non-fiction texts.
Building Confident Learners: I’ve received a few letters from a previous students recently that reminded me of how joyful learning and sharing knowledge is! Confidence in learning comes from making real connections with others and sharing your own love of learning. Show your learner or learners how fun learning can be in authentic, experiential ways. Share your joy in learning and in doing so you will empower young people to be curious observers of the world!
What Gives Me Joy: Podcasts or audiobooks while crocheting. I’ve been introverting like crazy this week and have enjoyed listening to stories via podcasts and audiobooks. I love using Hoopla which is a fantastic app you can download for free! Just connect the app to your public library account and enjoy hours of audiobooks, eBooks, music and movies. I should note that I’m not getting paid to mention Hoopla, I honestly just really love it and see it as a wonderful public resource.