Saturday, November 28, 2009

Year End Home Stretch

Soaking up the last half of the holiday weekend, I found a gem in my email this a.m. that I thought would be worth forwarding to my husband who teaches high school. This is the time of year when it is dark out and you feel like staying under the covers instead of jumping out of bed and hitting the day with enthusiasm. It is cold in the morning and the kids grumble about being cold waiting for the bus (yes, they are true Phoenicians now) and yet don't want to be hassled with jackets because it will be "hot" on the playground later.

So... back to the gem... the little piece of encouragement that will help all of us make it through the next few weeks to winter break... 101 Ways to Cope with Teaching Stress, By Britney Wilkins. Ms. Wilkins has made an incredible collection of fun new web tools,time honored teaching skills, motivational thoughts, and physical activities to help teachers, and all of us who love teachers, make it to winter break in one piece!

Who can resist a list that includes tips like this?
  • Chocolate: Sneak a little piece of chocolate once or twice a day to give your brain a boost of endorphins and indulge your sweet side. Dark chocolate is supposedly the best.

  • Favorite tools: Your supplies drawer for the students can have a mish mash of pens, crayons, scissors and notecards, but save the best for yourself in your locked drawer. Even something as simple as getting to write cards with your favorite colorful pens can make you feel better.

  • Quotes to remember like: "It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. ": The next time someone makes you feel guilty for not earning as much money as them, remember this quote from Tom Brokaw.

  • online resources like...Toodledo: Toodledo sends reminders to your mobile phone so you never forget a task.

  • and...Kickboxing: This aggressive exercise is great for when you need to release a lot of stress and frustration.

I have only picked some random items from the list but I encourage you to peruse the entire 101. Find your favorites. Share them with your peers, your kids, and those you love. This holiday season is stressful for everyone. The more you can share what you do to de-stress will help the kids you love to see the positive ways to manage difficult stress.

Oh... and how did I find this gem anyway? I have to thank Brenda Power and Choice Literacy for her blog post that led me to this list. Who have you included in your Professional Learning Network that you may never meet but sends you thought provoking treasures? Find at least one or two and commit to skimming them at least once a week before deleting and you'll be amazed at what you find.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After the Turkey...

Consider this when you finish your Thanksgiving celebrations on Thursday:

Enjoy a conversation or two or three with some family members and capture it in celebration of the "National Day of Listening."

This is a wonderful way to capture the oral history of a loved one, a special event or memory, or celebrate family history! Designed as a monetary - free alternative to our nation's "Black Friday" spending sprees, "The National Day of Listening" was launched by Storycorps in partnership with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Explore their site for wonderful step by step interview suggestions and good ideas to capturing memories that can become holiday gifts.

The process is simple: select an interview partner, create a question list, and sit down to record a meaningful conversation. StoryCorps has created a free Do-It-Yourself (DIY) interview guide with step-by-step interview instructions, equipment recommendations, and sample questions available online at

Download the Do-It-Yourself Guide

Participants are encouraged to record their National Day of Listening interviews using equipment that is readily available in most homes—from cell phones to tape recorders to computers or even pen and paper. StoryCorps has created a free Do-It-Yourself interview guide with equipment recommendations and interview instructions available online at

About StoryCorps
StoryCorps is an independent non-profit whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening. StoryCorps is one of the largest archives of American voices ever created, with interviews gathered from more than 50,000 people in all 50 states. Each StoryCorps interview is recorded on a free CD for participants to take home and share, and is also archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit