Monday, November 28, 2016

Kids Deserve It! Week 9: Chapters 25-27

Hopefully you were all able to spend some time "unplugging and recharging" during Thanksgiving break and are ready for the last three or four weeks of the semester. How do you recharge yourself? This might not be a full disconnect, as the authors suggested, but how do you relax and focus on you? Do you have an example to share where you have really thought outside the box, but kept the focus on the content? What else jumped out at you from this reading?

Next week we will read and discuss the last 3 chapters of the book, chapters 28-30. It's hard to believe that our 10-week book club is almost complete. Please have all of your comments made by the end of the day Monday, December 12th. I will send out PGP emails that week. If you have not already done so, please register for the book club by completing this registration form. That is how I get your email addresses to send PGPs.

81 comments:

  1. I like to recharge at home simply by spending time with my family, eating good food, and I especially enjoy working with my hands. There is something about buying something that is not working properly, fixing the issues, and selling it for a profit. I do a lot of this flipping things on breaks from school. I also enjoy riding on/in atvs, dirt bikes, go karts, my Harley, and hot rods. Really anything with a motor that goes fast that I can ride in frees my mind and gives a good adrenaline rush. My daughter is the same and we do a lot of riding around as we wife in the country. Very simple things such as splitting wood, building a fence, having bonfires, hunting, and playing with the dogs are a great joy to she and I.
    I would say the biggest outside of the box thing that I do with my teaching is in PE class. I will often make up new sports or games when I have time to think and we try them out. Sometimes they are the best games and kids love them and over times they fail miserably but we just laugh it off and move on. I know that I cannot be a success 100% of the time but the kids know that I am only human too.

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    1. I find your ability to realize that not everything is going to be perfect 100% of the time, exhilarating! I think that is the biggest obstacle teachers face when they think about implementing something new into the classroom!

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  2. My husband refers to me as a hermit because I would much rather be at home with my family than doing anything else. That's how I recharge. Watching cartoons with my 3 year old and baking. Honestly, I wouldn't consider myself "plugged in" all the time. My phone annoys me and I hate group text messages. All the beeping stresses me out! My phone is on silent most of the time which drives my family crazy since I don't respond to them immediately.

    I 100% agree that elementary teachers can get lost in the glitter. We always need cute things to hang in the hallway or on bulletin boards. On the other hand, the kids are 6. Why can't they have a break and do a craft? I think there is a delicate balance in creating hands on meaningful lessons and getting lost in something really cool that's just fun.

    I'm not sure how I would react to my principal calling my mom. Would I like that or would I just feel silly? Anyone else have thoughts or feelings on this idea?

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    1. Since you asked, I will say that this unconventional idea of receiving a call from my principal would give my parents a complete fright at first; so, I would not enjoy that. Then, I think they would be very proud, once they understood the sentiment of the call. A letter might be better, allowing them to absorb the information...then, I will receive the call from my parents with a report.

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    2. I agree that I am not sure how I would feel about being a grown adult and my boss contacting my parent about my work performance. However I'm sure my dad would be very proud of me and he would call me to share the news of the call. I guess it would be ok.

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    3. Me too! I'm a bit of an introvert, and while I love people, I need my quiet time to recharge and rebalance. I go go go all week long, between work and driving my kids to their activities. Once the weekend hits, I like to stay inside and watch Netflix!
      I also exercise regularly. I do a half our of boxing or Insanity in the morning, then walk a few miles at night. Releases a lot of stress!
      In the classroom, I like to play games that focus on the material. They love everything from Kahoot to blocks to coloring!

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    4. We are very similar. I too like to watch TV with my kids and my phone annoys me too when I'm trying to unplug. I totally agree that the phone call to my parents would be a little odd.

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    5. Me too! I love the idea of getting compliments as adults...affirmation is so important. But...I agree...being 36 I feel the same way about my parents getting a phone call...a letter or e-mail to my spouse would be nice though!

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    6. I think I would rather be recognized at school. Maybe in front of my class or grade level or just a teachers meeting. Then I can share that experience with my family.

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    7. Darcy, I like the idea of boxing! I would think this would be a very good stress reliever!

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    8. I would rather be recognized personally or at a teacher's meeting. When my dad was alive, he probably would have got a kick out of a phone call from my principal.

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    9. I, too, could spend all weekend at home and not think twice about it. My husband, on the other hand, would go nuts!

      As for the phone call home, I don't know that my mom would get over the panic of worrying that something was wrong with me to hear what my administrator had to say. I would rather be recognized in front of my peers, I think, or have a letter that my mom could keep/re-read when she wanted to do that.

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  3. I love the sound of rushing water. I have an app that I play and just let my mind float away... it takes the stress out of the day. I love to be with my family and play cards or games and just not have to worry about what is going on around me.

    One of the projects I had my algebra class do, was out of the box. My students could not understand graphing. So, I found pictures which will produce a four quadrant coordinate grid and a set of ordered pairs that when correctly plotted and connected will produce different characters. Then when they had them plotted, they had to find vertical lines, horizontal lines, parallel lines, perpendicular lines, etc. They had to name the lines and find the slopes. This helped them very much learning about slope intercept form.

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    1. Funny that you bring up card games because lately this has been much of my time in the evenings. My 7 year old daughter recently realized how much she loves to play cards and does this all night long...and because of this I am playing games all night long. I have to admit it is therapeutic in a way...getting my mind off of things and focusing on her and I. I hadn't really thought about it in this way...Thanks for this reminder!!

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    2. A girl after my own heart: my daughters and I can while away hours playing cards, Scrabble, dominos and many other games that we have amassed over the years. The Scrabble obsession came from my grandparents, passed along through my mother. It is fascinating to see how some digital games have simulated these time-tested favorites, yet nothing beats sitting around a table face to face. Enjoy all of this for years to come.

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    3. I use the app Calm on my phone. Love it! It guides you through mindful meditation and can be completed in 10 minutes. It will even send you a notification reminding you to meditate. :)

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  4. I get some of my best recharging by spending time with my wife. She too is an educator so it is always good to unwind and reflect with someone that understands the "business". We do a lot of camping, walking, driving, and of course talking. All of that helps me to keep the batteries charged and ready to go.

    I would say the most outside the box thing I do, that has stuck, is my newsletter. I put out a weekly newsletter to the staff that is done through google slides. It is set up so the faculty and staff have the option of commenting on any section of it, therefore, making it a collaborative effort rather than me just passing along information. The staff enjoys it, and they have found things I have missed as well.

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    1. Two-way communication is a great idea! You must have a great relationship with your staff to trust them with this. No one complains or corrects your grammar in this public forum? But I suppose if they complain, then those staff that support an idea can make a rebuttal saving you from having to do it alone. This gives me an idea for my students! Thanks for sharing!

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    2. LOVE your idea of a staff newsletter! It would be interesting in a school my size, with staff well over 100 teachers, to be able to do something similar, so that we can all see what each other is doing in their classrooms.

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    3. I love the idea of your newsletter being a collaborative effort! Our staff often frets about missing activities or other things that are going on! This might be a nice compromise for everyone! Plus, it would help with our monthly newsletter that goes out to our community since we could just refer to these weekly ones and pick and choose what is relevant to share and add to it. Great idea!

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  5. To relax and recharge, I like to get in a workout or read a novel for fun. These things keep me feeling like myself. I also love a good Disney movie night with the kiddos and a big bowl of popcorn.

    Recently, I started doing "Bite Size Training" to do a better job sharing tricks and tools I come across as I research. I create short videos (under two minutes) to share with staff. This helps to extend my reach as a tech coach. (So often my work is one on one.) I also like doing it because it challenges me!

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    1. "Bite Size Training" is such a great idea! How do you share this with teachers? Do they let you know when they try something to let you know what they think?

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    2. I like to R&R in the same ways! I love your idea of "Bite Size Training"! I think that makes it more engaging for others, instead of an hour long training that may not be beneficial to the entire staff!

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    3. I upload the videos to YouTube and share them out with everyone. I have only done a couple, but the first one required an email in respond to get part of the info. I also plan to use YouTube video cards to add in some interactive elements.

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    4. I love the idea of "bite size training," too! I have some people that would love to hear about that, so I am going to share that idea with them as well! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. This week’s focus on unplugging comes at a great time following a Thanksgiving break spent with my parents in Southern Indiana between two hills where there is no cell service available. My grown children have come to accept that; instead of complaining, they manage their phone use around it, letting their friends know they are going off the grid while at their grandparents’ home. When we visit, we spend a lot of time playing board and card games in the winter and outdoor activities in the summer. As towers are built and satellite reception improves, I am sure better service will reach my parents’ location, but there is a little part of me that likes to ‘go home’ and have my children experience it the way it has always been there for me.

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    1. Tammy I can relate to the no service. We vacationed with all our family in Michigan a couple years ago and the wifi at the house we rented didn't have wifi. All the kids were going crazy because they didn't have wifi. It ended up being a great time for everyone to spend time together playing games and having fun:) They did survive!

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  7. Recharging is very important to me. I like to do yoga and barre. A couple days a week several of us teachers meet up to workout and have our own little therapy about what is going on at school. It's nice because we get to workout and help each other at the same time. I also like to watch reruns of Downton Abbey on my ipad and drink tea. I try to have my downtime after my teenage boys go to bed and sit and talk with my husband about the day as well. We just got back from a much needed trip together over the break while our boys were at Disney with the school band. Another thing I like to do is puzzles and knit :)

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    1. I also recharge through a workout and reruns of gilmore girls...and really recharge when all 3 of my kiddos are in bed. It gives me time to reflect and clear my noggin!

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  8. I like to relax by taking a long walk with my dog especially when I can go to the county park so I can get away from my phone and noise in general. This is time that I can just be by myself and think or just wander around. There are some days when I just need some quiet, it doesn’t happen often but it does happen. However on another day I may have my stereo blasting and cooking a new recipe that I have found. I also like to go to the local theater to see a concert or play. These are some of the activities that I call my cheap therapy to help with life. LOL
    Well, I’m not sure if it is thinking outside of the box but every Tuesday I give my students the option of writing their spelling words and sentences in either shaving cream, paints, play dough or sand(which is made of flour & baby oil). The kids are eager to work on their spelling every Tuesday so I see that as a positive.
    The part that jumped out at me was when the administrator contacted his staffs’ parents to say how he appreciated their hard work. It is nice being appreciated for the work that you do but I’m not sure how I would really feel if my boss sent my dad a letter on my work performance.

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    1. I agree that I'm not sure how I would feel about my principal calling my parents. Plus what about the teachers whose parents are deceased? I would much Rather my principal write a small note of appreciation to me

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    2. I have found walking by myself to be very relaxing. If I don't want to think, I will bring some earbuds and listen to music on my phone.

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  9. This question leaves me reflecting on how I could become more unplugged or disconnected from school at the end of the day. I totally can do this in the summer with camping, biking, hiking, walking, Jeeping, boating, and visiting family. However, not much during the school year, even the books I read are educational. My Twitter account is all educational as well. I need to take some of your ideas to get disconnected for myself as I do believe it could be good for the students in the end. Something to grow on.

    What is outside the box is staying outside the "textbook". The students never know what to expect when they walk in my room. We are enjoying assessments other than a multiple choice test. We respond to a prompt with a video response using Recap, or make a political cartoon demonstrating a point of view.

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  10. I recharged over Thanksgiving by spending time with family. I also work a second job and I was able to take time off over Thanksgiving. It was nice just to spend time with my own family and to not have to think about work.

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  11. I recharged this weekend by spending time with my husband and kids. We put on the Christmas music and decorated the tree together. My three year old was so excited and that brought us so much joy. Like some of the previous posts, I enjoy being home and reading a book with a cup of coffee in hand, baking a sweet treat, or playing a family game. I just have to force myself to stop and enjoy the people around me and the rest will work itself out.

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    1. I totally agree with your "force myself to stop" comment. We have such busy schedules and it's so important to remind ourselves of the things that really matter. Our family also played a lot of Christmas music this weekend, it's very therapeutic.

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  12. Recharging is so important! I recharged this Thanksgiving by spending time with out-of-town family. We shopped, ate and put up the Christmas tree...a school-free weekend until Sunday's inevitable planning.

    I also like to recharge by spending a good stretch of time on developing one particular assignment/project/unit for one particular class. That may sound strange, but I really enjoy it and rarely have a large block of time to devote to one assignment.

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  13. I like to unplug and recharge by spending time with my family. We really enjoy family game nights. NOT video games! :) Lately we turn on the gas fire place and everyone picks a fun game to play. I also enjoy crafting with my kids. This weekend we had fun decorating the house for Christmas. We live for those low-key, nothing on the calendar, kind of days.

    As a sub, I've been in a lot of classrooms and I've seen the "glitter" that the authors talked about. I really believe in "less in more". I'm a very organized person so I like to keep things as simple and uncluttered as I can. I'm looking forward to looking at Hope King's blog that the authors suggested. She sounds like a very focused and fun teacher.

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  14. I recharge by working out. For me there is nothing like a good run with just my thoughts. I actually don't even listen to music. I like to focus on the things around me...nature sounds...the fresh air. It is my quiet time...a time I think of nothing like work, laundry, dinner...etc. All I need to recharge is a good mile or 2 run...

    I want to say..I Love the, "hats off cards" Affirmation is so important. In-fact...it is one of the love languages. Adults as well as kiddos need to know they are doing a job well done...it is such a positive feeling...a feeling of success! As we have read this book...a positive comment goes so much further than a negative!

    The last thing I want to mention is the part of meat vs. glitter. I remember when I first started teaching (Pinterest didn't exist back then...lol!) thematic units were a big thing...then I walked into another school. And this school was very different. My principal said we use the curriculum and that is first...then we can intertwine a theme into that if it fits...not creating a theme and adding curriculum to it. So that chapter brought back many positive memories...and how right she was!

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    1. I also loved the "hats off cards". I agree that positive comments go so much further than negative comments.

      Also, I, too, love a good workout to clear my head and get energized. It's so important to stay focused and continue to remember why we are teachers!

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  15. Recharging is a vital part of staying excited and engaged in your classes and curriculum. I like to recharge by spending time with my family and friends. I was able to have my family over for Thanksgiving and then we had friends travel in from out of town as well. We had several days of relaxing and socializing to help recharge and refresh ourselves. I greatly enjoyed it!

    I enjoy trying new things and trying to think "outside of the box." I like to incorporate technology in mathematics and use activities in ways that will engage the students and get them thinking independently.

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  16. I agree with most of you that recharging means just being with family. For me, turning my phone off is a big one. On Sundays, I usually leave the phone plugged in on the night stand and won't even look at it until after a morning with a big breakfast and time with my kids. It's hard to have "down time" because it seems that if I'm sitting still everyone thinks I'm available to do errands or help with something. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind lending a hand to help out but sometimes I just want to pull a George Costanza and hide under my desk (at work and at home) for a few minutes of quiet :-)

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  17. How do you recharge yourself? Recharging to me is being around people outside of school and remembering Im still "Kelli" and not only "Mrs. Winer."
    This might not be a full disconnect, as the authors suggested, but how do you relax and focus on you? I spend time with my husband and Kids, go to church activities, enjoy a massage, continue doing decorating jobs, make time for friends, and watch Christmas movies.
    Do you have an example to share where you have really thought outside the box, but kept the focus on the content? In 8th grade FACS, we just finished a unit on Reduce Reuse Recycle...I decided to take it a step further and talk a lot about giving back. We as a class made
    "I-SPY" puzzles to distribute to community doctors office, dentists, the YMCA, and various other organizations waiting rooms as something new to do. The kids are excited about doing it and hope to see theirs sitting on a table somewhere someday. I don't know that this is WAY outside the box but I remember doing a unit on Recycling in jr high and was filled with information but never was put to the challenge. Doing creates Learning creates habits creates teaching...a type of recycling all of its own.
    Something that stood out to me in the reading is the idea of appreciation and feeling appreciated.... It really made me think about how I show my appreciation and that I truly love to feel this as well.

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  18. I recharge by riding my bicycle long distances this year I will ride the RAIN ride across Indiana again and by going out to the garage and restoring my 68 mustang it needs a bunch of work. I find it as probably the best way to recharge and disconnect. I think that recharging is very important and I see to many teachers who don't have a way to recharge. I call the bike and mustang my time and all of the other things we must do as teachers don't matter in that world.

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  19. I recharge by working out every night. It allows me to reflect on the day and organize my ideas and thoughts for the next day. Some of my best ideas come to me when I am working out. It is a great escape mentally. Another way that I disconnect is I don't check emails after six o'clock in the evening. At that point, it can wait til morning. I think at this time of the school year, it is really important to disconnect and recharge. Our schedules at school and home are becoming very busy, so it is important to exercise disconnect and recharge daily.

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  20. If I don't recharge, I find myself overwhelmed and overworked easily. Lately, I have invested too much time in Hallmark Christmas movies! I also workout and spend time outdoors with my husband. We sometimes take short trips too.
    I love the idea of turning off my work email when I leave for the day. I may give that a try! I also try not to bring too much home with me so I don't burn out.
    I love the "hats off" idea. We used to have a few minutes in our staff meeting where we highlighted various staff members and what they are doing.

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  21. I am really good at leaving my work at work. I have lots of hobbies. I can immerse myself in my baseball card collection. I like to play golf, go fishing, and enjoy watching sports. So, recharging activities take place, for me, just about every day.
    One activity that I do that is somewhat "outside of the box" is allowing students to bring in a dish that relates to the particular region of the world we are studying. For example, we just finished a unit on the Aztecs. We took one day where each group was able to bring in a dish to share with class which they prepared using authentic Aztec ingredients and recipes. Students really took ownership and were excited to share their food with others.

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    1. We had a couple of teachers in our building that did that as well. It was really neat to see them do that. Due to students' food allergies, though, they had to stop that practice, unfortunately.

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  22. Disconnecting from the world is really hard. My family likes to travel which makes disconnecting interesting. You have to keep connected to family in case of an emergency but leaving the country typically kicks you out of cell phone range. This makes disconnecting very easy. Even a short trip to Canada can be a refreshing break. I like the idea of turning off the work email once I leave for the day. That is something I will definitely have to try!

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    1. I have a hard time turning off the work email because at the secondary level, when all of my students have a school laptop, many evenings I will get emails from students with questions over content or homework. But I will say that I have thought about it, because nothing can ruin your evening more than receiving an angry email from a parent!

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    2. Sarah, I completely agree with you. If only there was a filter we could create where only student messages were received from 3:00 pm to 8:00 am the next morning. That would let the students receive help but keep the grumpiness away!

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    3. I find I have a very hard time disconnecting because I teach secondary and I want to be reached if my students need help and I want my family to be able to get in touch with me if needed. About 6 years ago, we went to Mexico for a family vacation. My husband picked up international calling on my phone we could be reached if there was an emergency. Even though I was able to get to facebook and everything else, I opted out for the week and just spent time with my family. My kids and husband kept their phones in a bag in our room but we kept mine for pictures.

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  23. I usually recharge by spending time with my family. Going for a date night with my husband, spending time with my kids, going on an adventure as a family on the weekend. Sometimes I treat myself to a pedicure which is like my ultimate recharge activity.
    I thought the calls home to family was so cute. What a fun little thing that would mean so much.
    I also think there's no way I could actually leave my phone at home for 5 days! But it has definitely inspired me on the next vacation we take to only get it out when we need to use it for something or if I'm having time to just myself with no one else around.

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    1. I swear I didn't read your response before writing my own, but sounds like we do a lot of the same things to unwind! Haha!

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  24. I recharge myself by spending time with my own family. So many teachers I know have second jobs or have to take so much classroom work home with them, that they feel guilty about not spending time with their own children. I try really hard not to take anything home with me each night and to truly be present when I’m home with my family. Cooking is one way I relieve stress. Sometimes I recharge by drinking a glass of wine and watching a favorite TV show. Sometimes it’s by getting a pedicure or having a date night with my husband.

    I’m really interested in trying to do a 20 time project or genius hour with my students. I started planning last year for it and ran out of time before the school year started. I would love to talk to someone who has done it at the high school level to see how they implemented it and what worked for them. I’m hoping next year I can tackle it!

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  25. Like others have written, spending time with family is a huge part of how I recharge. I enjoy talking to them about specific issues I'm having, but I also really enjoy just spending time with them and having fun. The good times with them help me when I'm facing a challenging student or situation at school.

    In the text, the big aspect that jumped out at me was the ways in which connecting to and reinforcing positivity is accomplished. The visits home and the ways that teachers can remind kids they are doing a great job or that they have improved really makes a huge difference in students' lives. This, although it isn't usually my way of thinking about "recharging", would be a great way to reinforce a positive attitude with students, which in the long run would make a teacher's life better.

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  26. Many of you mentioned that working out is a good recharge. Any suggestions on low impact workouts, I battle with plantars fascitis. I've tried many and just haven't found one I love. I know I need it and would love to get into a routine.

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    1. Bike riding is one of my favorite ways to relax and disconnect. Sometimes I even gain ideas from things I see to influence a new idea. The latest was student directed fitness stations-where they create a course similar to those a nearby college has constructed for those outdoor adventurers.

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    2. Thanks Pamela. I too enjoy bike riding, I don't like the cold, but I need to bundle up and ride! You have encouraged me!

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  27. I disconnect with working outside or gardening on making gifts out of other common items. I enjoy painting rocks or paving stones and then giving them as gifts. So relaxing! For me anyway.

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  28. I recharge by spending time with my own family. Around the holidays, I bake and give the food as gifts to family and friends. Recently I have also done yoga to relax after school.
    At the end of each semester, I end the year with a field trip showing them possibilities of lifetime sports in the community.

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  29. I make sure to let myself recharge as much as possible over breaks, otherwise I get stressed and overworked. I spend a lot of time exercising and reading. I find those the most enjoyable things for me, but I think it is important to find what works best for each person. Exercise gives me energy and makes me feel good, while relieving any stressors from the day. I notice a huge difference in myself when I do and do not exercise. I like to read because it gives me something else to think about and to be immersed in another world.

    I honestly do not have an example that I have implemented yet, but I have been thinking about something that I want to do with my class this year when they learn about coordinate points. The first thing that came to my mind is a life-size version of Battleship. I think about how thrilling it would be for the students (and myself) to play, but that it would tie into what we are learning in a meaningful way.

    I also really enjoyed reading the first chapter about how the administrator was giving kudos to staff members. I feel like this is very important for teacher morale and for them to feel like they are appreciated and recognized for good work. I work at a PBIS school and we are doing the same thing with our students, so I was able to really connect on how great it would be for our principal to do the same things for us!

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  30. As far as “unplugging,” I don’t have a problem doing that since I don’t use a fancy phone. (I always say that I don’t have a smartphone, I have a dumb phone.) I don’t go online unless I have to during vacation, such as I am expecting a message from someone. Or I might have an idea for a class and want to type it in a file before I forget about it. But to recharge myself, I go outside, especially if it’s sunny. I might go someplace where I can see shops, or I might drive somewhere and enjoy the countryside. I need a change of scenery, and that can be something as simple as going to a new park or store, or it could be travel to another state or country.
    Then I read a good story and I spend time with my family and play with my cats.
    As far as out of the box thinking, this Spanish teacher has done a Dead Poet’s Society-esque unit with poetry in Spanish, with the purpose of finding something that speaks to each of my very individual individuals in my upper level class, while also introducing them to literature. I have done an art unit in Spanish with the end activity playing “art gallery” with each student showing and speaking about a work of art. I have done an origin of chocolate unit full of fun social studies facts about the Aztecs and Mayas, and of course we eat chocolate. Always in search of something new that will grab attention and be novel while hitting standards, I have an idea in the works for a mystery unit, but it’s in the rough stages.

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    1. That Spanish Dead Poet's Society-type unit and your chocolate unit both sound amazing!!

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  31. The best way that I have found to completely leave work behind is to watch a good movie or spend time with my grandsons. These may be the only times when I am so engaged with something that I do not think about work.

    Usually, after spending time with my grandsons, I feel ready to go back to work.

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  32. My recharge is....I have a confession to make. I'm a Candy Crush Junkie. I love playing it on my phone because it's quick & easy. I don't have to really think about anything. I can totally zone out the world around me when I play. That's for my quick timeout moments. For a true recharge, I love to spend time with my family. We love to play cards or board games & watch movies together. We also are blessed to own a boat. Anytime it's nice enough to be out on the lake we take full advantage. I can truly unplug when on the water. A rare dinner out with my hubby is a great break too. Since he coaches three sports, we don't see each other much during the school year.

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  33. As a health teacher I so appreciated the chapter on unplugging. Teaching can be so rewarding and so incredibly draining at the same time. I do my best to take power walks several times a week if not every day, and if my schedule allows zumba class is 45 minutes of exercising and "not thinking" about anything else! I have also found it helpful to plan something fun or something to look forward to on the weekend. It may be just dinner out or a movie but it's time with my hubby or family.
    I also try to give my self a break as much as possible in the summer. In June, I try not to think about or do anything concerning school. June is time for me to work on all my house projects that were neglected during the school year, to work in my flower garden and to visit with my adult children. After the 4th of July, I start thinking about the new school year and the first 2 weeks in August I hit it hard and go into school to get my room ready and really begin to plan and get organized.
    This past summer I had a family emergency and was gone all of June and half of July. Therefore, I went into my school year feeling extremely stressed. I can definitely tell the difference in how I feel this school year. So I absolutely agree, that looking for ways to unplug, having fun outside of school is an absolute must for every teacher and administrator.

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  34. I have several hobbies that help me recharge: spending time with my family, watching movies, playing board games, snow skiing( looking forward to our trip to Wisconsin), biking, hiking, spending time at my parents lake cabin, reading, and having date nights with my man.

    I feel like our preschool class does things outside the box everyday. We do a lot of movement with our lessons. We also try to incorporate science and cooking as much as possible. We have different community helpers come in and talk with our students. Next week we are going to sing some Christmas carols to a local nursing home and we are also making cards to hand out. Right before Thanksgiving break, the students made turkey costumes and snack bags. Then we walked around the school and delivered them to tell other staff members thanks for all they do.

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  35. I like to scrapbook, craft, bake, and shop! I am one who can get lost for a couple hours in the big box stores! I also enjoy silence...after being with high school students all day, I like to drive home in silence. I enjoy watching movies and reading for pleasure. I find it easy to unplug, especially the phone. I do like to use Pinterest and sometimes I find myself spending too much time looking at classroom ideas and such...so I "force quit" myself!

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  36. I have found the best way I recharge is at home most often. By the time Saturday comes, I want nothing more than to stay in my PJs as long as possible. I enjoy photography and often enjoy editing pictures, sorting them and making photo books. I love Hallmark movies this time of year as well. Everything always ends happy. I also find it relaxing to putter around the house picking up, getting laundry done and even doing a little cooking. These tasks during the week stress me out, but everything in order on the weekend relaxes me.

    I liked the more meat less glitter idea. I have said often during our collaboration time that we can do more with less. I feel like there is pressure to cover so much that at times all we do is gloss over things. I like to cover less, but do it more deeply. I appreciated the comments about losing focus when we are more concerned with fun than we are with content. I am getting ready to launch a QR code, book trailer project with my students. I am excited about it because we will utilize our 1:1 technology, the students will synthesize information and they will produce their own movies. We will then create a QR code for each movie and attach the code to the library books. Students can then scan the code (readers are on student laptops) and be taken to my students' movies. Books will be promoted. Student work will be showcased. Students are reading. They are analyzing and they are producing. I can't wait to get started on this.

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    1. Your QR code project sounds like a great idea! It sounds like a great alternative to the standard book report!

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  37. I like to recharge through hobbies. As my wife stated above I coach 3 sports throughout the year and half little down time. I have been trying to spend as much time with my boys before they are out on their own. When I do get a chance I try to play golf with buddies or games with my boys. We like to play strategy games on the computers together.

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  38. Disconnect is really important for our profession. As my husband sometimes tells me, "take off the 'teacher hat'." Speaking for myself I feel like I'm always "on". The teacher brain doesn't stop. I gather ideas all the time for future lessons or projects.
    If I'm out in public and I see students I'm still 'teacher'. I feel like I'm always 'on'. To fully disconnect almost seems impossible for me if I'm being honest. I know this is an area I need to personally work on. However I did really enjoy my Thanksgiving and got to spend time (as most of you have said) with family and friends and that seems to recharge my batteries.
    Other interest that help recharge me are exercise, cleaning up the house (I'm a weirdo...I know), being outside when its nice (nature walks, bonfires, at the lake etc...), hosting get-togethers (girls nights, birthday parties, family events), and the much needed alone time spent reading, shopping, or crafting. I don't get to do the above nearly as often as I would like, but I soak it up when I get it.
    I don't consider myself an 'out of the box' teacher...I beg, borrow and steal all the time! I find ideas done on Pinterst, Twitter, other FCS teacher blogs, and Listserve daily! I feel like I could do more in this area if given the time to really sit and plan better.

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  39. I like to disconnect from my teaching life over short vacations by leaving my school bag at school. Hauling home papers, books, lesson plans, iPads, etc... on a daily basis often leads me to working at night after the kids go to bed. If I leave the bag at school, it truly helps to put me in the mindset that I am on vacation and need to relax.
    I also take a break from reading about educational topics and only allow myself to read for fun. I love reading and could spend hours curled up on the couch with a good book.

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  40. I recharge by spending time with my family. We've have two very significant losses to our family in the last 3 years, so it's even more important to me now that we cherish those moments. We do simple things - decorating, making cookies, visiting - but they are so fun and relaxing.

    I love the "hats off cards" idea. I try to focus on positive behaviors and accomplishments. I think kids respond so much better to positive energy, and it boosts their self-esteem. A positive learning environment is essential to an effective classroom!

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  41. I find spending time with my family helps me to recharge and refocus. The time is not always unplugged, but if we do have our teens unplug, my husband and I do as well. I am not a big fan of watching TV on a regular basis but I do enjoy movies. I recently needed a break and had a marathon Harry potter weekend with my son. It was a nice break and we enjoyed spending time together. We are currently having a family Star Wars marathon in preparation for the upcoming release of the new movie.
    With my students, I might have them draw a picture from a story we are reading on a big piece of paper and use it to decorate the ceiling tiles. Or we might create a fun poem like a limerick and put the final draft on construction paper. I love hanging these projects around my room and in the hallway.

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  42. I remember when I first started teaching, I would eat, sleep, and breath work. I don't remember recharging and refocusing, because it seemed my life was 110% work. Then, I got married and I started my family. I realized very quickly that to have balance, you have to take time for yourself and recharge. I made a conscious effort to come home and spend "time" with my family. Not just be in the presence of them, but to actually be with them. It's harder to do on some days when I have projects to grade or emails to return, or students' weighing on my mind, but I make the effort. Sometimes that means I don't leave work until after dark, but I know that when I get home I can focus on my family and my time with them. I think it's important to give 110% to your work and 110% to your family, and in order to do that, you have to set boundaries on when you will focus on each. I love my students and I love my family, but I believe that I am a better teacher, wife, and mother when I prioritize and set my focus. It's takes time and practice, but my best days are when I achieve that balance.
    As for what jumped out at me, was to "turn it off". Like I said, I want to be focused on my family when I'm at home, and this plays right into that. It's hard to be unplugged in 2016, but it can be done and we can survive (at least I think we can, lol)!

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    1. I completely agree with you, Megan. I was the exact same way before I got married and started a family. My focus has certainly shifted. I manage my time much more differently now out of necessity. Do I have it all figured out? Absolutely not! It's constantly evolving, just as our family schedule is, and I've just got to roll with it.

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  43. I love to vacation and being not married with no children allows me to do this. I love to take just long weekends to have the opportunity to recharge my batteries. I agree setting a time to stop checking my school email in the evening is a great idea, because if not I have found myself replying to parent emails while trying to go to bed. I love my job, but if I don't balance my personal life with work I find myself to be very unhappy. I remember a college class talking about the balance of work and personal life and it has always stuck with me.

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  44. When I relax, I like to do things that I don’t normally have time to do during the week/during the rush of school -- take a nap, do crafts (with/without my daughter), catch up on my shows that I have TiVo’d, take an uninterrupted shower or bath, or go run an errand by myself. I’m rarely disconnected. I guess that I feel “naked” without my phone, unfortunately. However, I try very hard to leave it put away when it’s definitive family time, like when we are out to dinner, at a family gathering, etc.
    As far as outside the box thinking but still keeping the focus on content, I am really enjoying implementing BreakOut boxes into my curriculum this year. I got funded through DonorsChoose for two boxes, and I have been trying to teach my 7th graders a variety of social skills using them. It was a rough go around the first time, but they have now gotten the hang of them.
    When they talked about calling the teacher’s parents in this chapter, I first thought it would be kind of neat. I then thought of my mom. She would panic if the school called her because she would immediately think that something was wrong with me. I think that even after the initial shock was over after hearing I was fine, I don’t think she would hear what my principal had to say. I also thought about my brother who is a principal. I just laughed at the thought of him making these phone calls. Some of his staff were ones that we had when were students at the same school!

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  45. "unplugging and recharging" Umm… Not well! I have been working on finding better ways of teaching/grading, as we all do. It is difficult for me to ask myself is it good enough. I feel it implies that I have not tried my hardest. Add being involved in school life, and kids of my own that have homework and activities, I'm not I ever really get recharged. I try to separate by having certain days that I stay late at school and work, and other days set that I leave at contract time to spend time with my own kids. I don’t want to feel guilty for being a mom or a teacher. On Monday, I go home and help my kids with homework or have fun. Then on Tuesday, I set up for my kids to go have fun with their Nana, so I don’t have to feel guilty about doing my work.

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