Friday, June 15, 2018

Unselfie- Chapter 1

Did anyone else want to bring their baby to work??

When I read the page about bringing babies and how babies are natural empathizes, not only did I love the connect, but my momma heart started to try and find a way to bring baby Victoria to work! LOL! ( SN: I told my husband that she would be a classroom mascot and be a double tax write off, write off  for being our child but also apart of my school needs.)

So back to all the seriousness... when page 9 mentioned how we have different expectations of girls and boys, I couldn’t help but say that I am “Guilty!!”
Growing up, girls have never been allowed to be soft in my parents’ house, but the boys were never allowed dwell in their emotions. My parents loved the release of emotions and the ability to display feelings but they never wanted their boys to be too emotional, as society doesn’t view that well. They never wanted to stunt our brother but they didn’t want him to be unaccepted later either, which I get. Even as I look at my baby girl right this moment, I just hope and pray that she is always true to herself but I would like her to be accepted by her classmates.

So John Gottman is a huge driving force behind the emotion coach and he’s so convincing that i need to add his book, The Heart of Parenting, to my next set of books to read. After realizing that I probably can’t bring my baby to work for empathy coaching, I do like the idea of Skyping Grandma, however instead of Grandma, maybe it could be my retired Dad? This could be big. The students need a visual model to provide he face to face connection with and while they don’t all get that at home, we provide it at school, but it is still on a small scale. (At least compared to all the interaction that they should get, and my thinking is maybe we could coach them along, so they can handle and recognize these feelings better on their own and in other situations. (I might be dreaming with this idea, but I should dream big right?)

Page 20 opened some great insight into how I can share feelings everyday in class with my students. My colors won’t change often as I am very happy, but when it does change I will be sure to allow it to be a great conversation with my kiddos.

Out of all chapter 1, I would say nonverbal communication is key. What are some ways you help to coach students to read others’ actions?

What are some thoughts that you have regarding getting a classroom pet? (This would allow students to care for something else and observe its emotions. P.16)

Do you do any community outreach projects through your classroom/school?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Unselfie -Introduction

So... “Unselfie” is a book that was initially  a “hearts desire” to read. Now that I have begun reading, I absolutely love it and desire more people to be reading it.(especially those within my current campus in order to make waves at my school.) 

Within the first few pages, the knowledge that is shared is so heavy and real and game changing. For example the information in the introduction regarding the “Me” cultural values rather than the “we”. (P. Xiv) As someone who is using social media to connect currently, I see this to be true! Social media, selfies, and the need for constant photo taking(even multiples of the same photo) has changed what we view as valuable. Even I have been guilty of retaking a selfie or a group picture multiple times until I look pleasing to myself. The constant obsessing is not healthy to our self esteem nor is it a message we want to deliver to those watching. Squirrel: Just FYI- I’m a musical learning style of a person, therefore I couldn’t help but think of this one country song by Toby Keith called Talk about Me when I read the word “me” repeatedly. I’m not sure of the song’s original meaning but I always hear the messaging of don’t be “self centered” when I listen to it. This brings me back to the self absorption, and how this is an increasingly popular problem that has been fueled by social media. 

 Click to listen

This book and its approach to empathy could change the way we do morning meetings, the way we interact with our students and teachers, and the way our counselors interact with our students and teachers. 
This book to me is a step beyond kindness. For the longest time educators and parents have said “be kind” and “show kindness” but this story encompasses kindness because that is HUGE and kids need to be kind but it takes it a step further and goes beyond just being kind and what does it look like. 

Empathy involves being kind, so kind would be a great co-pilot to empathy. As a teacher of littles, I believe you have to be kind in order to relate to someone, and when you relate to someone you are kinder. It’s a forward and backward swinging door. So this is a HUGE gain from kindness! 

On page 7, I love how ten year old Kanye put it, “empathy helps you be nice.” That’s the connection!! When you understand someone else’s perspective and situation, you can be nice (kind) to them.
Empathy gives kindness an explicit meaning and role within relationships.

How I would use this book?

As a teacher who does morning meetings with my students, I would initially use this as my morning meeting classroom curriculum and I would do the first 4 crucial fundamentals of empathy, while teaching them for 2 weeks at a time, rather than a month, only so I can make growth in my students before they leave for summer.. I would then continue to practice these skills as stated in the next part (part2) and allow them to practice (part3) while spiraling these practices all year. I would hope to show the students that through spiraling, it’s a continuous working goal and it will take time to develop.

Power quotes:
  • “People have to teach kids to care. “ p.xviii
  • “We create an environment where the walls come down, so to speak: where campers are willing to try something new surrounded by people willing to support them.” Leslie Lewin (imagine if all our classrooms were like this??! Like really like this!! Imagine accomplishing this goal each year and then the students can continue this throughout their schooling and carry that classroom culture.) p. Xii
  • We are all humans who share the same fears and concerns and deserve to be treated with dignity. (P.xiii) - I need this on a shirt. <3

  1. What are some ways that you promote empathy in your classroom/school?
  2. How can we help bring back the “moral rudder” to our students? (Xvi)
  3. What are some project based character building activities that you do in your school? (Xviii) There has to be a way to bring this amazing activities into our schools.

Wow!! Chapter 1 is up next! I have never read such a passionate and moving introduction ever! I’ve been sharing this book with my neighbor and I can’t help by get chills when I think of how this book, in the right hands and at the right time, can move mountains for some of our toughest students. 


Saturday, June 9, 2018


I can’t even begin to describe to you how excited I am to dive into this book! This story is not just another book that talks about character and rather than focus on the same traits, this book takes it a step further and focuses on one of the main traits that can help out youth, empathy! I can't wait to see what unfolds and see how I can apply this to my students in our classrooms and schools this upcoming year!

There is still time to sign up for a blog chapter and to grab a copy of this book! See you all June 11th!

Visit the site to sign up!


Friday, June 8, 2018

Mystery Book Club

Soooo I must say that this is my most favorite unit to teach, which is why I have always admired the older grade levels because they get to book club more often and all year. <3

When students learn how to read, it is so much fun teaching them to love reading and watching them fall deeper in love with reading each day.

To begin this year's book club series, I had the pleasure of doing the Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds chapter book. This story is captivating and simplistic (72 pages) at the same time. 

As many of you know, I have been in 2nd grade since the move from my old district. I loved 3rd grade, however it is nice at times to refresh myself on the level before to ensure I continue to remember what it takes to get to 3rd. 

I love a new challenge and this group this year, has truly been a wringer, but a blessing at the same time. As readers, we have truly had to become self motivated in order to select books that are "just right" rather than grab the largest book you can find. (HA!!) Now that they are growing swiftly into chapter books, completing the first of many whole class book clubs is wonderful as we are now able to truly read and digest tougher text. (Thanks to Lucy Caulkins, for Amping Up our Reading Power)

During book clubs, my main goal is to have students develop a deeper understanding of the text, while incorporating the skills used in class settings along the way. This is a great way to cumulatively practice what has been taught all year in isolation as well as cumulatively through picture books now in a chapter book. 

Group Selection

Reading groups were teacher selected. I began by thinking of students who would work well together without temptation to play, and then I gathered them on paper. I then took those students and wrote their reading levels next to their name. (While the reading level does not define them entirely as a reader, it helps me to know student word solving levels, their level of comprehension, and it gives me a hint of their level of discussion. Students who tend to struggle with comprehension, tend to have a challenging time discussing a book they may or may not have understood.)

Group Questions

Initially I used to be the teacher who use the questions that had come with the story, however I have really come to love that we have some AMAZING TPT teachers who have resources that are brilliant online. I now choose to support teachers and use their resource. I selected ____ to use her questions as they were comprehension questions that could still evolve into a discussion whether a student was sharing their opinion or adding more detail to a situation in the story. 

Group Management

Student are expected to work in groups and speak according to ground rules preset. They then were able to all partake. As I actively monitored I was able to see this come to life! I enjoyed being able to rotate around the room and monitor progress of group work. The students discussed specific questions as well as generated some of their own. (Questions that we’re self created were generated based off my suggestions and my previous questions, emulating.) At the conclusion of this assignment, students graded themselves and each other on their grou performance. I must say, that I had students being very honest and hard on themselves. It was a good conversation to have about preparedness and performance.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Wow!! Is this thing on?

Leading into 2016 and 2017 there have been so many amazing changes! 

  • New school district
  • New school
  • New house
  • Got married
  • Had our first baby, a baby girl!
  • Graduated Grad School for School Counseling

And while they distracted me from blogging, all of these changes have helped to grow me as a person. I am so excited to rejoin the blogging world continuing to share what I do daily, and some new materials while sharing it from my teacher perspective as well as from the perspective of a wife, Mom, and counselor.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Currently - October

OH MY ITS OCTOBER! We have made it through a month and a few weeks, WOW! Time is flying!

Well Enjoy!! Posted some items on the blog, some questions, and added a math talk homework goodie! 

Have a wonderful week! Check out my Currently with "Oh Boy it's Farley"

Rule #2 - Just Grade it - - Don't let it pile!

This seems to be one of the hardest things for me to do at the beginning of the year. Getting back in the "swing" of things and I can convince myself that I don't need to grade one day because I will grade it tomorrow. Well tomorrow never comes and a week later, I am forced into my room to grade for what feels like an ETERNITY. (And as much as I love my precious children, after deciphering the hieroglyphics we call handwriting, I am a little frustrated at myself.

So.. Rule #2 is - Just Grade it! (It's kind of like NIKE and how they say "Just do it" teachers have to do that too. ) Just get it done, one more thing off the list and then we can send it home.

Grade it as soon as they return it. This may be the simplest rule, and YET the hardest one to follow through, because on Friday afternoon as your sprinting out the door, no one thinks to take home papers or notebooks to grade. If you need a solution, pick one day a week after school, and shut the door and grade. Pick that one day when you have nothing else going on and assign yourself an hour of grading weekly. ( If it was me, I would pick a Monday because graded papers go home on Tuesday.)

Hope this help someone! We all do it, but it doesn't make it a good thing. :-p