Monday, December 5, 2016

Kids Deserve It! Week 10: Chapters 28-30

This is the last week of our discussion of Kids Deserve It! Hopefully this book and the discussions that you all have had have given you some ideas to take back to your classrooms and schools and maybe challenged and stretched your thinking. What is your big take away? Have you tried something new in your classroom that you got from the book or the discussions?

This is the last week of the book club discussions. Please have all of your comments made by the end of the day Monday, December 12th. I will send out PGPs by the end of next week, using the email addresses you included in your registration.

73 comments:

  1. This discussion has reminded me that replenishing my own storehouse of energy, patience, and persistence is the only way that I am able to give students what they deserve and at the same time expect them to respond with energy, patience, and persistence. This means that when I am empty or not at my best, I have nothing left to give to students; they can sense that and feel less inclined to meet me in the middle. The same goes with being a good mother, wife, friend.

    I have heard it said that we as educators may have taught 15, 20, or 30 versions of a class; yet there is only 1 chance to teach an individual student, this is their ONLY time to experience the 8th grade (or any other level/class). While this season of the year presents a frenzy of activities that might stretch me in many directions, it is also a time that I want to be the most kind, generous educator that makes me both appreciate students and respect the place that I have in their lives. My take-away is to recharge to some extent daily in order to do my best daily. Thanks to all of you for giving us many new ideas on this blog.

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    1. Thank you for the reminder that this is their ONLY time to experience my class. When I think about it that way, it reminds me that I cannot give up or give in. That I have to show up and do my best each and every day.

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    2. Well said, Tammy! It is imperative that we keep up our own energy and patience so that we can give our best to our students. Although I keep many of my students for four years, each day is like the one chance I have to make an impression on a particular student. In one day, I can turn a student off to my class or turn him on to being a lifelong learner. If it's a bad day for me, I might miss my chance to impact that student positively.

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    3. What a powerful message! I couldn't agree more with your 2 points of discussion! Especially the second...how you only have 1 chance to impact those kiddos love of learning. I look back and can remember each of my teachers in elementary school and what they "gave"me from that year. I have memories of a few teachers that needed that recharge...and I have wonderful memories of those that still had that spark and love of teaching!

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    4. I love your thoughts and comments this week. It really resonates with me and encourages me to take the time to refocus my energy. You are right about it being the one chance to have an impact on the students. I hope that each of my students feel like they have succeeded in the years that I have them in my classroom.

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    5. Like the others have said already, I completely agree with both of your points! We all need to remember that we need to recharge to give our students the best versions of ourselves. Plus, they DO only get to experience our classes (at least in middle school) one time. They certainly do deserve the best experience. Thank you for those valuable reminders!

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  2. My biggest take away from the discussions, was seeing how alike we all are. We all work so hard, and feel the pressures of needing to be "perfect" and the struggles we deal with (mostly internally!!) when things aren't perfect.
    My favorite parts of the book were the ones that told us to take risks, dare to try something new, to know that failure of something new can be embraced, and a learning experience.
    Of course the most important chapters for me were the ones about relationships - with students, parents, administration, other teachers. These people are our support system, as we are theirs. Those relationships make what we do worth it all. I send home more positive emails; I try not to just give a half-hearted smile in the hall, but to verbalize a greeting with a genuine smile.
    I love the short, easy chapters. With hectic schedules and end of the semester, it was easy, enjoyable reading and learning!

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    1. I agree. We are all alike with the pressures and stresses of our job. Taking risk or trying something new is important to becoming better educators.

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    2. Relationships are the key to success as an educator! We need positive relationships with teachers and administrators, but we also need to work on positive relationships with parents!

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    3. The short, easy chapters! How could I go without recognizing those! I agree with you, Darcy, that those were so refreshing! Not only were the topics they were discussing so relate-able and positive, but to add that the chapters were so short and easy to read on top of that...this book was one of the best that this book club has had!

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  3. My biggest take away is that we are all doing so much for the kids. That can never change. I loved reading the book and seeing the different things they did that are all kid centered. And you never once read about standardized test prep. It is too easy to let those parts of the job creep in and forget about the kids. Especially as a principal. We need to keep it all kid centered, every day.

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    1. Your statement saying that,"We are all doing so much for the kids." is spot on!! It is positive to read all the great ideas and the genuine care for our students that has been written about in these blogs.

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    2. You're right! I didn't hear one thing about standardized testing! How refreshing!! It is so nice to just focus on the kids -- the reason we all have a job.

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  4. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book! It has given me the much needed reminder of the greatest mission: KIDS!

    I love the following lines in Ch. 18, "Kids deserve every ounce of energy, enthusiasm, passion, motivation, caring, and creativity we can muster. Be awesome for them, because we mean more to them than we realize. Our most important job is to love kids and convince them they are absolutely incredible and unique-to remind them they matter. Academics are a bonus!"

    The book has reminded me that my agenda/to do list only weighs me down. It takes away from my happiness and joy, which leaves me feeling empty and anxious. The kids deserve more, my focus must be on them. If something doesn't go "my way", I need to roll with it and turn it into a "teachable moment". Every moment counts when we are making connections and learning together.

    This quote sums it up well:
    "So often we become so focused on the finish line, that we fail to enjoy the journey."
    -Dieter F, Ushtdorf

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    1. Agree with the quote summing it up! A good reminder to slow down and remember why we chose the profession we did. The kids! We need to focus on their needs and make each day a good day for them!

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    2. The kids make the journey special don't they. A new journey every year!

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    3. Absolutely! It is hard to have a bad day as a teacher!

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    4. I love, too, how every chapter ended with "Kids deserve it." It's always a good reminder.

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  5. I am so glad that I participated in the book study. For the past 10 weeks, I have been excited to read other posts and to learn and grow as an educator. I think the most important thing for us to remember is that we are not alone and to keep pushing ourselves as educators. I am hoping that I will find a job in a more collaborative environment, because it can only help me achieve more with my students.

    One thing that I will be implementing relates to the chapters we read this week. When the author stated that he let students take the Spheros home to practice and play with, a lightbulb came on in my head. I just received funding for Dash & Dot robots with Kindles, so I want to do the same thing with my class. I think that they will see that I trust them with these items and that it will make them more passionate about learning and sharing with others!

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    1. At times I find myself doing things how I think others might think I should do them, instead of how I know I could be doing it better...This is great! Go for it!!

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  6. Like the title says, “Kids Deserve It!” We do need to give our best and keep trying new things for our students! Additionally we also need to take time to recharge ourselves so we can give our best! I think the biggest take away I got was that I should not feel guilty for needing to recharge and that it is necessary.
    The something new in my classroom I think will be that I make more of point to contact parents. I occasionally contact a parent with happy news but I feel I should make a concerted effort to contact parents in the future.
    I liked that this book was a quick and easy read!

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    1. I agree that parent contact is something I need to improve upon as well!

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  7. My biggest take away is that my whole school (including administrators) should read this book. I feel that my entire school could benefit. We all need to be reminded to think outside the box and encourage each other to do so. We are all in education for the same purpose.....to see kids grow, they deserve it! I enjoyed reading the book, other's posts, and feel recharged to try new things.

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    1. I agree! I think this would be a great book for our staff to read and discuss. I have learned so much from everyone's ideas.

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    2. I agree that this is a great staff book! I know that if I suggested one more thing for our staff to read, they would just roll their eyes (because we already have a lot of things on our plates - not because they are unwilling). I plan on sharing valuable related information with my staff after the first of the year.

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  8. My biggest take always from this book :

    Creating a caring environment where students are motivated and are curious to arrive each day.

    Staying networked and a life long learner in order to catch new things that can be a motivating factor for kids success.

    Continually build on relationships, because steering a ship might be easy, but if the crew hates their captain, it may not arrive to its intended destination.

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  9. My biggest takeaway from the book is to surround yourself with fellow educators that can support you and comfort you in times of need. Also to think outside of the box and don’t be scared to try something new or approach an administrator with a new idea. I haven’t tried anything new yet. I feel like the book was geared more towards elementary and not secondary, but I can ultimately see myself using the advice of trying new things in general. I have plans to try a Genius Hour project next year. It feels overwhelming to try something that big, but I want to do it! Someone in another post mentioned a staff newsletter and I really like that idea! My principal is the type of person that would love that; he wants the staff to feel like one big happy family and be connected with one another. I may have to run the idea by him and see what he says!

    Some of the things I am struggling with lately were touched on in chapter 28. One of them is about how do we instill a love of reading in kids, so that they want to read for more than just getting a good grade or passing the test? It’s something as an English teacher that I struggle with daily. Especially because for many of my students, grades aren’t a motivating factor for them. I have many that could care less if they fail, or as freshmen have already expressed to me that they will drop out eventually. By the time they reach me, how am I supposed to change their mind about reading and why it’s such a valuable skill?!? There’s so much evidence that proves that a love for reading has to be instilled in kids even before they start kindergarten, by parents that read to them at a young age. I try to remain positive and hope that even if I change one student’s mind, all my hard work is worth it! We just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird (my all-time favorite!) and many of my students said they have never read ahead before for a school assigned book. That made me smile; knowing that they enjoyed it enough to read ahead. I guess those are the small victories I should celebrate!

    I am grateful for all of you and this blog! I feel like we have learned so much from one another. It’s refreshing to see so many educators, across all disciplines and levels, and know that there are still great teachers out there who want what’s best for the students. Especially in our state’s current education climate. Thank you all for all that you do each and every day! Have Happy Holidays with your family and loved ones.

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    1. Sarah, as we have learned of our connection via TSC and I read your post, I am so excited that you are a part of our program! Your energy and positive attitude with the students are EXACTLY what they need! Keep celebrating those "small" victories -- for those kids, those are HUGE!! Don't ever underestimate the work you are doing with those kids, and don't ever be intimidated to think outside the box with them! They will appreciate you for doing it!

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  10. Maybe its just me, but "Kid's Deserve 'IT'" 'it' being SO MANY different things. I love that we all have had so many ideas about what "it" is in the last 10 weeks. For some of us "it" is our time, our attention, our ideas, our motivation, our drive, our passion, our enthusiasm, the "IT" throughout the book has been different for all of us for the last 10 weeks. And no one’s "IT" has been wrong! We have a difficult profession, through this book study I've seen that it’s not just my battle-its every single teachers battle and we are NOT in this alone.
    Things I really enjoyed about the book are the hashtags throughout the book and questions at the end of each chapter. I liked coming back to the blog here and reading what other people's take aways have been from each chapter. I've enjoyed connecting with some of you via Twitter and other forms. I look forward to another book study in the Spring!

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  11. My big takeaway is that I need to keep trying new things. This was much easier when I was younger, but as I get older, I find myself wanting to try new things less and less. I did try the idea "I wish my teacher new". It was a good experience. I am glad I did this book study. I look forward to the next one.

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    1. I want to try that activity, too! That is one that I am going to encourage my colleagues to do as well!

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  12. My big take away is that I am not alone. It is comforting to hear from other teachers who aren't perfect, who need advice, and who are struggling with the same things I am. It is also nice to read posts and realize I am doing some things right! This journey we are on changes day by day. There are ups and downs....for all of us. It is good to ask for help, and it is good to bounce ideas off of each other. It is so fun to learn...it makes us better teachers to learn right along with the students. This study also reminded me that the students are what matter during the day...and it is ok to go home after school, unplug and allow my family to be my focus.

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    1. Exactly. We are not alone. Even though there are many items within this book that are common for us all, the renewed energy that talking (writing) about it brings is stimulating. The students are what matter.

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    2. It is very important for us to remember we are not alone. My classroom can be very isolating when teaching all day, grading and planning, and only getting out to stand at the copier.

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  13. My biggest take away is that I am not alone often times we shut that classroom door and we feel alone but we are not. I also found the parts on replenishing your energy very important to me it seems that we always have something to do and we need to take time to step back and recharge sometimes.

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  14. Out of all of them, my favorite chapter was 28 about the love of reading. Being a bookworm myself, I would love more opportunities to talk about books with others and share my love of reading. Some of my favorite questions to ask someone are “What is your favorite book?” and “What are you reading now?” A few students asked me to sponsor their student book club this year and I was so excited! But this only involves a handful of kids, and just a few books. I would like to see more at school in terms of getting kids to actually read outside of classwork. I love the idea of trying to get everyone to read twenty books in a year (and having a progress chart), having every teacher put a sign up that says the current book he or she is reading, and talking about books on the daily announcements. The whole scenario presented in ch 28 sounds like amazing fun. I would love to read to students (dramatically, even!) or to talk to them about my favorite books. I would love to see students reading to other classes. Oh if only!
    I am sad to see our sustained silent reading time no longer in the schedule and to see how few books we have now in the school library. I guess reading isn’t trendy, and I know how the kids used to complain about having to read a book for a whole 20 minutes a few times a week, and how it was such a “waste of time when we could be doing homework.” But I must say this. I DISAGREE. Everyone needs books and free reading time. I think it’s something essential to becoming an educated adult.

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    1. I agree with you about reading and books. I enjoy reading, especially books of my interest. There is nothing like a good book that you can't wait to get back to reading. Kids need to experience this!

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    2. This past week, my students read a short Rudyard Kipling story. At the end of the week, we watched the film version of the story. After watching, we compared the text to the film. When I asked students which they preferred-book or movie- several students said that they liked the book better. I was happily surprised by this.
      I really like the idea of students reading to students too.In fact, I like the idea of students working in pairs to analyze text; they are so much more enthusiastic when asked to present their viewpoints to the class. Some students have even forgotten that they do not like to speak in front of others.

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  15. I agree with many others, my biggest take from this book is that we are not alone. I think that is especially important to remember when dealing with doubt. The book has been inspiring, and has reminded me of the importance of doing my best every day for the students. I have to make everyday special and make learning fun for them. I enjoyed the book and feel like it was the "pep talk" I needed. I am reminded how important it can be to bounce ideas and problems off of other teachers..so helpful. This book club has also been helpful, hearing from others who experience the same joys and the same daily stress is motivation to continue doing what we love to do and do it with a happy heart! I also look forward to participating in the next book club.

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  16. I really enjoyed reading this book. I have already began sharing my hard copy with other teachers in my building. I love that it is written by principals and that they are also on twitter and you can communicate with them and read their post. I like change and try new things in my classroom all the time to make things interesting for my students. Sometimes, I have found that others are not very receptive to how flexible to change I am. I think that it makes them uncomfortable and they aren't willing to change. I am learning to not worry about what other think though and focus on my students and classroom and continue doing the excellent job that I'm doing. The biggest thing that I have done this year is have my own youtube channel that I post my lessons on. Students really enjoy watching my lesson and have really improved their listening skills, and how much we accomplish in class. I would like to focus more time on learning from teachers online and actually utilizing twitter more. I have learned a lot from another online class and this one as well. You have to step out of your comfort zone and do what helps the students the most!

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    1. I have had a Twitter account for a while now, and I keep telling myself to get into it but I just can't! So many people are on board with it, but I just can't make myself do it! I don't know what it is about Twitter that does not appeal to me!

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  17. My big take away from reading this book, which I really enjoyed reading, was that I need to be willing to remove myself from my comfort zone. I loved the story told near the beginning of the book about the teacher really being the doctor and even the principal bought in to the idea of that being the truth. As a drama teacher as well as an English teacher, I agree that it is so important for our students to see us as risk-takers who are willing to look like fools for the good cause of getting them involved with their own learning and being active participants in their learning ourselves.
    Something I will not forget from reading this book is that those are the experiences that students will remember the most, not the lectures about MLA or writing a thesis statement. Students will remember when I was an active participant in their learning, when I shared stories about myself, when I cared about their stories, and when I looked around outside the box to improve their learning and in turn, to improve myself as an educator. How outstanding would it be as a teacher to walk in dressed up as the main character from a novel my students are reading and to "play that part" throughout the entire class period? That is an idea I gained from this reading that I am planning to accomplish by the end of the school year.
    This quote from the last part of our reading reminded me again of the importance of thinking outside of the box and being willing to take chances to continue to better myself as an educator.

    "We want to drown out the voices seeking to keep us in our boxes. We want to decrease the many negative stories about education and magnify the risk-takers, the dreamers, those who don’t accept “no” for an answer, and those who continuously do what’s best for kids."

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  18. My biggest take away is to continue to think outside of the box and try new things. This book is not something that I would have picked up but I am glad I read it. It was engaging and full of good suggestions. As we move toward winter break, it is a great time to take the author's advice and disconnect from the work environment. Great book club suggestion!

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  19. Twenty five plus years of teaching in progress and I am still learning new tricks. I love the ability to take from others and modify into a working classroom components. Thanks for sharing!
    My school is changing its schedule next year to allow for more time per section-although the challenge of adding 20-40 minutes per class period seems overwhelming, my out side the box ideas are coming together to fill that time without totally having to revamp the core objective. The first project I want to embrace is having the students design a fitness course rather than me supplying the stations. The extra time per class will allow for this.

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  20. The biggest take away I received from this book is that the most important part of teaching is the kids. It is so easy to get caught up in test scores, data analysis, and the countless other tasks that go along with teaching. When I think about being present for the students and making sure that they are my main focus, I feel that I am on the right track. This book does a great job of putting kids first and encouraging its readers to do the same.

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  21. As I type this a note from another blogger really stood out and made me think. No matter how many years of teaching you have under your belt...you still only have 1 chance to impact each child. How true and well said that was. It truly made me think about the power I hold as a teacher, leader, friend within those walls.

    I have taken away a few things....
    1. It is important to recharge. If I feel empty my teaching and my positive impact may not shine through. When I feel my best I teach my best.
    2. Positive reinforcement. Kiddos crave the blessings we give to them...the affirmation...the positive feedback. I have taken this to heart. Each week I have been taking pictures of the kiddos having fun while playing/learning. and sending a kind note along with the picture to their parents. Nothing but positive has come from that.
    3. More meat and less glitter! I love this...teach what is important and add the fun stuff to it.
    4. Trust kiddos more. They are smart...and will surprise us!

    I have truly enjoyed this book...it has given me a spark to try new things and to be more positive. Especially in the academic world that seems so focused on scores and passing tests. Revive teachers...revive students...and schools will see amazing things!

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  22. My biggest take away is just going back to remembering that my first priority is KIDS. We all get so caught up in everything else: content, curriculum, grades, testing. Ultimately, our kids need to know that we care about them. This book and these discussions have helped me get back to focusing on developing better relationships with my kids. I love the idea of postitve contact home, and have been trying to do that way more often.

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  23. My big take away is to not only push my students but to also push myself to make learning exciting. It's also great to see many of us share the same thoughts and feelings. It reassures me that when I am down or questioning my career, other educators feel the same way. I think it's important to remember it's not just another class. It's a group of students, kids, minds, and hearts to inspire into life-long learners.

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    1. Your last line is so true...every class is different but there are always hearts to inspire.

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  24. I have a couple big take aways from this book study. First, as soon as my students enter the door I have started saying good morning to each and every one. I want them to know that I am happy they are at school. I also am trying harder to stay positive and make learning exciting even when I'm tired and things might not be so great outside of school. Students should enjoy school and I want my classroom to be a place where they want to be and feel comfortable being themselves.
    I also have learned the importance of surrounding myself with others I can talk to, learn from, and provide support for each other. Sometimes I need to be the one reaching out to others instead of waiting for them to seek me out. It is also ok for me to spend time just for me and recharge. It will make me a better teacher if I give myself that time.

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  25. I believe that my big take away from reading this book is not so much from the content but more of a a renewed motivation and spark for exciting my kids and a reminder to be involved in their lives in more ways than just the classroom can provide. I know that I will be joining several social media groups such as twitter to keep this fire burning and keep the ideas flowing between supportive professionals. I think that I will will be much more likely to approach staff members that otherwise I may have overlooked or discounted because they teach much differently than I do. I have been reminded that there is always something that I can learn from everyone and the more involved and submerged into the community in general I become, the better off my students will be for it. I have learned not to be afraid to fly by the seat of my pants, try new things and ideas without fear, and to always join them in there learning rather than lead their learning all of the time.

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    1. I very much agree. This is one of the first books I have read for PD following which I didn't sense a 'do more' message, rather it made me feel as though it is all going to 'be all right' if we keep doing our best and keep looking onward and upward.

      I also appreciate your statement that we can learn from everyone. A quote that I had posted on my door at one time said, "Everyone you meet knows something that you don't." It has been credited to Bill Nye. I believe in the message as I learn something new every day; I tell students that, and I tell them that I expect them to teach me something.

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    2. Tammy, your thoughts really resonate with me. So many PD books leave me feeling guilty that I am not doing more or questioning how can I add something. This book left me thinking we are all doing our best and want kids to succeed. It was so encouraging to hear from others and read Todd and Adam's motivational thoughts.

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    3. I agree with your thought that I don't leave this book feeling like I should be doing more. I do, though, feel more motivated and have a renewed energy. It is refreshing to finish reading an education-related book feeling this way.

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  26. My big take away from this book is to always remember why I became a teacher. I became a teacher to help kids become lifelong learners and to teach them to LOVE learning. This book is a wonderful resource on how I can stay excited and focused on my mission. I loved all of the ideas of incorporating authentic experiences in with our curriculum, and I can't wait to incorporate some of them into my classroom. I also love the entire forum of this book discussion - teachers sharing ideas, building one another up, and encouraging one another. How wonderful! I believe the classroom should also emulate these very concepts!

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  27. This book has been very encouraging for me during a school year of many new challenges. The top two things that have stuck out to me is to keep finding ways to connect with your students. As a previous participant reminded us we only have our students for a short time to make a difference. My goal is to keep looking for way to show caring and compassion to even the "hard to love" students.

    The other thing that I took is to keep trying new things. Trying new things with technology is often out of my comfort zone. I just finished a class project where my students had to make a movie. Although, I still can't teach very much about making a movie, the students and I muddled through, asked for help when we were totally stumped and the movies actually turned out pretty well! I still have a lot to learn, but I'd like to think I'm teaching life lessons by learning and problem solving along side my students.
    I appreciate the opportunity to read this book and all the encouraging comments from others!

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  28. I enjoyed this book and found it both refreshing and helpful. I especially like the book about reading to your classroom. I have one class of struggling readers. We read novels and talk about a variety of elements concerning the literary areas of study. We also just talk about the book. That is my favorite part. Sometimes students struggle so much with the reading that they can't pick up the essence of the story. Reading out loud for them brings the story alive. I love that for my kiddos. It also mentioned novel trailers. I just started a project doing that. The students all checked out books from the library and are making a trailer to promo them. Then, they are linking their promo to a QR code and we are attaching the code to the book. In the future, students can scan the code, watch the trailer and possibly find a new book to read. The kids are doing it and loving the process. They are creating, evaluating and analyzing which are all high-level skills and they are reading. It is such a cool process. :)

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    1. Your project sound fun. I bet the kids are having a lot and fun and producing some pretty cool novel trailers.

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    2. That does sound like a cool project! I, too, love to read aloud with my students who are also struggling readers. They don't realize how a reader's inflection, tone, and pauses can change the story...for the better. They've probably never read it that way!

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  29. I absolutely loved this book! So many of the chapters really hit home with me and I had lots of great take-aways. Overall, I'd say the one that stuck with me most was to make sure and focus on yourself and recharge. There are so many great/new ideas, things to try, lessons to implement, blogs to read, classes to take, projects to incorporate, etc...but, if you're not recharged and focused, it won't matter. It's won't make a difference, and it' most likely won't work. You have to feed the plant before it will bloom, and we are no different. Being a great teacher takes a lot of work and reaching the needs of all of your students takes even MORE work. Taking care of yourself first, is the most important step. Having a way to refocus and having a support person to help you along the way is such a priority. I think this book was a great way to remind myself of this. Great choice!!!

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  30. The thing I have been reminded most of throughout these weekly discussions is we are all in the same boat. Many days I get wrapped up in my own agenda and ideas and I forget there are others just right down the hall or upstairs that might me having a bad day or have something exciting to share. I need to remind myself that's okay to reach out to others when we have something to share and it is just important to make sure we are there when other need to reach out. Thanks to everyone for sharing ideas, experiences and even some frustrations. I look forward to our next book!!!!

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  31. I really liked the idea of sending out cards to students at home instead of phone calls. I have that idea on my to do list. Reading the book made me remember why I first wanted to be a teacher and it was a nice refresher. I look forward to the next book.

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    1. We have been doing this for about 2 years. I'll drop one off to you and share next time I'm down in your area.

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  32. This is my favorite book club book so far. I really have enjoyed reading this book!! It has reminded me we are all human and will have great days and bad days. No matter what, the purpose of doing my job is to be the best I can be for my kids! I love teaching and hope to continue being the best educator I can be. This book has taught me a lot of new ideas and to not give up if they fail me the first try.I really look forward to the next book club and reading another great book, thank you!

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    1. I also enjoyed this book the most. Teaching is all about trying and failing,,.eventually you find what works and the end result is well worth the time spent!

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  33. I think the message for me has been to realize the importance of trying new things in the classroom. If I can find one thing that works out of five things that I have tried, then this is success. Also, I recharge a little differently than others- I like reviewing where we have been and where we are going as a class, and although this sounds like I am still working, because I rarely get the time to do this, I enjoy it. I guess what drags me down is looking at a list of things that I would love to investigate and never getting the time to do so.

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    1. I can relate! I have a list of things I want to try with my ASL students, but it seems I never get the time to do them. I'm going to try to prioritize and see if it works. So many things that I know they will enjoy doing.

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  34. My biggest takeaway is the reinforcement that I am doing a lot "right" in building relationships with my students. When it isn't always the "norm," I still make an effort to get to know my students and let them know that I care. This book reminded me just how important that is in our career. Our students today have so much more going on than I can imagine, and they need a safe environment and people to rely on when needed.

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  35. My biggest take away reading this book was being brought back to the beginning and being reminded of why I even started teaching, the kids. When I return to the classroom I need to make sure I'm giving all of my classes all of me. I can't wait to get back and be with my colleagues and students.

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  36. I have participated in several IDOE book blogs and I enjoyed this one the most. Thanks to all who participated and shared their ideas with us.

    My biggest take away from the book is that building relationships with our students is so important. Making everyone feel important is on my agenda. I had a new student move in last week…two weeks before the end of the semester. Unfortunately, her situation is not the best. I encouraged her to try to do the work and finally on Friday she had her homework done…so I gave her a sticker just for accomplishing something. Her reaction was priceless. Little things matter even though we may not think that they will.

    I also liked the chapter on unplugging and recharging. I have tried to do this more often than what I used to…taking more time for me and my family and unplugging from the school world.

    My last take away is about trying new things. I have come a long way with technology but I still have a long way to go! I hope to add in new ideas second semester that the students will enjoy…maybe more meat, with a focus on fun and learning.

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  37. My big take away….I always looked forward to picking up this book. That’s often hard to do when you’re talking about reading a book related to education. Every time I read, I was inspired by something in it. I found something in it that I felt like I already did to some extent, I found something that I felt like I could do better, I found something that I felt like I could convey to our staff that we could implement as a group, or I found something that a group in our school could do as a project at some point.
    While I have not yet necessarily tried anything new from the book just yet, I do intend to share many of the ideas I have found in the book with my staff after the new year. I genuinely do believe that there were great ideas that are easy to implement that are what’s best for kids...and that aren’t bad for teachers, too! I will be recommending this book to other teachers, for sure!

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  38. My biggest take away is that I began teaching because I wanted to help kids..and I need to continue to help kids. I need to continue to build relationships with them, and keep them motivated and wanting to be engaged and learn. I need to keep trying new things that keep them interested.
    I also liked that it said I need to take time for myself. I am a better teacher and person if I take time for myself. Recharge myself so I can keep my students going to the best of their ability.

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  39. Overcoming perfectionism is one of the largest obstacles for me. When I do something I put my all into and want it to be successful. Even when a lesion does not go as planned, learning still happened. We can have fun and learn at the same time. If I expect my students to try new activities, I also need to be willing to step out of my comfort zone to use different strategies to get all students engaged. Some of the “better” students struggle is out of the box assignment. They want the one, best answer. Life, however, doesn't work that way. I want to get my students to become strategist, who can find many equally acceptable answers. I find that I am giving brief introductions to topics and letting my students dig in and product products of what they have learned. Sometimes I tell them,try again, but other times they surpass my expectations.

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