Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Simplistic View...week 4

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

So true this week!  Here we go...week 4!

TEACHING: I can not express enough how much focusing on wait time provided simplicity in my teaching.  I felt like I had time to breathe, process, and appreciate all the different levels of thinking with my students over the past two weeks.  I was "in the moment".  So this week...I am going to become aware of my level of support.  Am I giving assistance or am I giving the answer for sake of time?  Wish I had someone to tally for me :)  I often tell the students (the quarterback) that I am their coach and I can call plays (strategies/questions) on to the field...but a coach will NOT grab the football (tools)  from the quarterback (student) , run down the field (text)  and score (answer) for the quarterback.  I want to just be aware this week.  Eyes open to my level of support because the touchdown is the student doing it independently!

MIND: Commit to something I have always wanted to do. The focus for this week arrived on my doorstep and is a double whammy!  I want to be a writer.  I write for this blog, I write in a journal for my kids, but I still feel like there is more possibility.  So I am reading Kate Messner's 59 Reasons.  It was written because..
 "In order to teach writing effectively, teachers must be writers themselves. They must experience the same uncertainty of starting a new draft and then struggling to revise. As they learn to move past the fear of failure, they discover the nervous rush and exhilaration of sharing work with an audience, just as their students do. Only by engaging in the real work of writing can teachers become part of the writing community they dream of creating for their students." - Kate's website.
I have reached out to some colleagues at work who might want to hop on this journey with me.  My focus is to bring my reading life back and to think about my writing life.  This book is going to be my focus this week.  


BODY: Continue to commit to the calendar.  Last week I prepared to be fit on the calendar and I am going to extend this into this week.  By planning the dates and putting them on the calendar I was never disappointed in myself if I didn't work out because I always knew when I was going to work out.  I found myself excited when I woke up and saw that time on the calendar for the day.  If it wasn't on the calendar...I knew that other priorities were more  important that day.

Last week I focused on preparing healthy meals and researching some new ones for this week.  Here were the finalists: 
Slow cooker Balsamic Chicken
Lemon Garlic Shrimp
Spinach Taco Burgers


Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Simplistic View...week 3

Read, water, and three seconds...simple right?  Wow! Did three seconds teach me a lot this week!!!!

Here we go...week 3...

TEACHING: 3 seconds.  I can not even begin to describe how this enhanced my teaching this week.   I had read somewhere that if a teacher waits three or more seconds after a student response before reacting, asking questions, or moving on that there would be evident changes in the use of language, thinking, and ownership of thinking.  So I focused on the three seconds AFTER a response was given.  What I heard and noticed was amazing!  I saw students following the conversation and not looking just at me.  I heard students respond to their classmates' thoughts and not try to give the "right answer".  I heard students adjust their thinking.  I heard students ask for clarification.  What was I doing?  Facilitating and asking clarifying questions.
Natural.
Authentic.
Engaging.
Accountable.
Those words would describe our conversations.  I even used wait time in RTI meetings this week with families. I feel that with using wait time in that avenue, the parents were more engaged in the conversation and the process of RTI felt more like a team than a report on progress.  So to amp it up this week...I am going to use the 3 second rule in wait time in all three areas... after posing a question (time to process the focus), after a response (time to process the thought shared), and after sharing an instructional point (time to process the fact/strategy given to them).  Again, nothing new to the education world...just need to get back to basics when it comes to wait time.

MIND:  Last week was...Continue to declutter my thoughts at night.  Ummm...didn't happen as I had planned.  I was hoping that drifting off into another character's world may be just what I need to shift from the hectic day to peaceful sleep.  Well, thanks to the Ohio State Buckeyes winning the National Championship (O-H...)    and actually being back at school for 5 days ( we won't count the two hour delay on Monday), every night I went to bed, my head hit the pillow and I was out!  So good that I got back the sleep I needed but not so hot for my reading life.  I am going to read more this week but that is not my focus.  This week I have found that I am going to focus on "fail to prepare, prepare to fail."  Since I have started preparing meal options for the week and sticking to them, my family eats out less, I have healthy options in the house and have healthy lunches to take to school for me.  I am currently getting ready to make my grocery list for the week.  My focus this week is to find one or two recipes that are healthy to try next week.  So this is the "prepare" part or research week for me.  If you choose to join this focus, please share a recipe that is your "go-to" healthy recipe or one that you want to try. The "simpler" the better!

BODY:  Commit to be fit on the calendar.  I have the water thing down. The only time I am craving diet coke is after a workout...wonder if there is some scientific reason why but..  I have not caved!  That is good!  Water is now a habit and I feel a difference in my skin...and my wedding band is looser...all good things! So my focus is on actually looking at the week and planning MY workouts.  I am even putting them in our family iCal so that everyone knows that this is the time I am dedicating to my physical health.  Every week is crazy on the calendar so I am looking ahead.  I can always do more but by planning it out and not going on a whim, I think I will look forward to it.  So, before writing this today I planned it out.  One session of Family Zumba with my daughter, one spin class and one TRX class all on the calendar.  I need to treat this commitment like I do doctor appointments, soccer practice, and social events.  Commit to be fit!

Reminder: The reason for the word SIMPLIFY..."I need to focus on a more simplistic view of my week.  I feel that if I find my way out of clutter I will find simplicity.  By looking at my week in a more simplistic view, I know I will infuse more happiness and energy to get "unstuck" and to put my head down at night with a clear view of the next day that is focused and meaningful."






Saturday, January 10, 2015

Simplistic View: Week 2

Deciding to choose one little word to guide your thinking for 52 weeks may seem like a "little" thing.
 Not so little.  Deciding to choose one little word to ground your thinking for 52 weeks and guide decision making.  A big thing.  After one week with the word SIMPLIFY, I can say that I chose the right word for me.

The reason for the word SIMPLIFY..."I need to focus on a more simplistic view of my week.  I feel that if I find my way out of clutter I will find simplicity.  By looking at my week in a more simplistic view, I know I will infuse more happiness and energy to get "unstuck" and to put my head down at night with a clear view of the next day that is focused and meaningful."

 Here we go...WEEK 2...

MIND: Declutter my thoughts at night. I realized this past week with all of the snow days that I have fallen into a habit that is bad for me.  It may not be for others, but I think it is part of the reason I would go to bed with a cluttered mind.  As I snuggle into bed, the last thing I do is check school email, personal email, and Facebook on my iPad one last time.  Then a few games of Jelly Splash. I have decided to declutter this routine.  I am going to go to bed and read.  I am going to check those things BEFORE going up for the night.  I am hoping that drifting off into another character's world may be just what I need to shift from the hectic day to peaceful sleep.  

BODY:  Continue to simplify my drinking.  I drank water all week.  I carried a water bottle with me all the time.  To quote my daughter "Mom...you are not stopping at McDonald's?  This is shocking!" So our children do pay attention to our habits...hmmmm....

SCHOOL:  Three seconds.  I do literacy coaching for teachers and provide literacy support to students.  I am beginning a new cycle of students next week.  The one thing I want to work on...wait time.  I believe in accountable talk.  I read somewhere (can't remember right now)  that if a teacher waits three or more seconds after a student response before reacting, asking questions, or moving on that there would be evident changes in the use of language, thinking, and ownership of thinking.  So I want to focus this week on the three seconds AFTER a response is given.  This will give the students and myself more time to adjust or confirm thinking and hold all members of the group accountable and encourage engaged thinking.  Nothing new to the education world...just need to get back to basics.

So...read, water, three seconds...simple enough!  


MIND: Declutter the recipes.  Check!  The snow days helped with this one. My recipes are decluttered...down to a binder (shocking!:) and my very first cookbook. Those two shelves use to be full of printed pieces of papers, recipes box, and several cookbooks I never looked at. In the binder...only recipes that we love and in the front pocket...recipes to try! 

BODY: My drinking...only water the whole week! Carrying a water bottle with me wherever I go has been the key for me. Didn't drink half my weight (I would have floated away) but with water and healthy eating...down 2 pounds this week!

SCHOOL:  Head up!  I think my body language was the most improved with this.  Walking down the hall, head up, shoulders up, greeting others, AND stopping to acknowledge them.  It put a bounce in my step and hopefully in others' days too by acknowledging their importance.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

OLW: A Simplistic View

2015 is going to be all about getting back to basics.  I want to infuse happiness and my energy into
getting unstuck and out of clutter.  I feel like I have spent the past few years with a cluttered mind and on a constant wheel...a constant to-do list that will never be completed, keeping up with educational issues and needs, turning to caffeine for a false sense of energy, a calendar that dictates my day, and going to sleep at night frustrated with all of the things I did not feel I gave my attention to that day for my mind, body, and family...therefore affecting my spirit.  I have been putting my head down at night defeated. Every night I would think of how to bring more simplicity, more patience and more compassion into the next day instead of chasing noise and just being plain old tired.  But the next day comes and I find my mind cluttered again.  Cluttered by so many thoughts and tasks that I become overwhelmed, question my focus, and say that tomorrow will be better.

The big question..."How to declutter my body and mind so that I can focus and move forward instead of reflecting back?"  The answer for me...I need to focus on a more simplistic view of my week.  I feel that if I find my way out of clutter I will find simplicity.  By looking at my week in a more simplistic view, I know I will infuse more happiness and energy to get "unstuck" and to put my head down at night with a clear view of the next day that is focused and meaningful.  Three things a week.  Three things to support my mind (those thoughts that I repeatedly think about), my body (fitness, health, energy), and work (teaching, colleagues, students, work space).

I am going on a 52 week simplistic view of 2015.  Each week I will post my focus for those three areas.  Feel free to join me, suggest, encourage, adjust, or use my focuses for your week as well.

And here we go!  A more simplistic view for week 1:

Mind:  Declutter the recipe box.  Yep.  That is one thing that floats in my mind each night.  I want my family to eat healthy and cleaner.  I need to pack a lunch for the next day.  I need to plan to bring something to school or to a family event.  And if you know me personally...everything revolves around food.  The task of making healthy meals and busy schedules causes me to eat out because I am overwhelmed by it all.  So this week I am "decluttering" my recipes for my mind and body.  I have a section in my kitchen with cookbooks, printed out recipes, saved recipes on Facebook and a traditional recipe box. I am organizing this!  I am sorting out unhealthy recipes, donating cookbooks, reorganizing, etc...A girl has got to eat!  So if I can simplify this process for faster grocery lists and the family gives their say in which recipes stay in or out...I should begin to have a more simplistic view of our family's eating health.  Declutter the recipe box. (Bonus: my husband  will love that one cabinet in our house is organized)

Body:  Declutter my drinking.  I have read in several places that you should drink half your weight in ounces of water a day.  For someone that frequents the McDonald's drive thru for diet coke daily or leaves Subway with another diet coke to sip on all day, this is quite a challenge.  I have been working on detoxing myself from caffeine the past few weeks.  I am ready to quit.  I have learned that I can drink more water if I add doTerra lemon/wild orange oils or if I add a fresh cut lemon or lime to my water.  Declutter my drinking.  Drink only water and carry a water bottle with me all week.

School:  Head-up high.  This is simple.  We are going back on Monday.  My focus...to not walk by a single staff member or student without greeting them or engaging in conversation.  I am not going to put my head down with a cluttered mind and keep walking because I am so focused on my to-do list.  I am going to start the year with my head high and remembering why I moved to a literacy support role....to support students and teachers.

There you have it!  My 3 simple things for next week...declutter the recipe box, cleanse my body with water, and say hello.   Anxious to see what I view this week.

More One Little Word Reflections:
Maria- perspective