Comprehensible Online!

by lclarcq on February 14th, 2018

filed under Archived Posts 2018, Teacher Training, Upcoming Workshops

Wishing you could get to a great conference but can’t leave home? Scott Benedict has created the wonderful Comprehensible Online!

From March 24-April 15, you could have access to workshops on 40 different topics by at least 15 presenters!!! That is nearly 50 hours of workshops for you to enjoy and learn from. Wow.

I’ll be offering three different workshops:

Embedded Reading: The Basics
Embedded Reading: Creating Readings
This is Us (Who We Are!)

And there is SO MUCH MORE!

Check it out at www.comprehensible.online!

with love,
Laurie

I’m Overwhelmed and I Don’t Like It Anymore

by lclarcq on February 14th, 2018

filed under Archived Posts 2018, Encouragment, Not So Good Days, The Teaching Profession

Dear Readers,

Eighteen years ago I wrote this post to the moretprs listserv. It is a response to a teacher named Teresa and it is somewhat personal, but at this time of the year, everything seems a bit personal. Or at least we take things personally…too little sun for many people, too little time for ourselves, giving too much to others. I’m sharing in case anyone here could use it:

I have read this several times Teresa…and can identify with everything you have said. My heart goes out to you. Teaching is cyclical. We all have moments of great joy and great frustration, enthusiasm..and yes..even boredom. We are subjected to cycles of professional interest…Madeleine Hunter, Mastery Learning…and professional change, department members , heads, administrators..and the like…..we experience years whenthe students make sense and connect..and others when we hope our children never turn out like that..and wonder if we are older than we feel….Life also…moves ahead on its own cycle.

Those of us who started teaching young, and fresh out of college, jumped in with nothing else to distract us. We happily took on those jobs we were told “came with the position”, be they coaching, student council, advisorships, etc. We felt privileged to be asked. (A lovely but naive thought :o)) We saw them as wonderful opportunities to bond with students and become a part of the school and community. Teaching was our life!!! And then Life creeps in: spouses, children, mortgages, family crisises, parents’ illnesses…perhaps our own. With as many joys and sorrows as our teaching life…but all drawing on the same emotional account. And for some reason, here we are 7, 12, 18 years later, wondering why we have become exhausted and jaded. Why we don’t feel like we are good at anything….teaching,counseling, advising, parenting,bill-paying,house-cleaning,exercising,friendships, relationships, or…anything. And how could we be? Why should we feel we have to be?

My personal life has taken a turn in the past two years which has hadin irreversible effect on my teaching. On one hand, I have not been as”effective” in many areas as I once was…or hope to be again. (parental contact, correcting, professional committees, advising etc.) On the other hand…in letting go of some things I thought were “essential”, I have found areas of greater depth of focus than I ever thought possible. Yes, my teaching has had a much different effect on my students…and a better one in many ways. Without going into anything personal , let me share the insights I have received. They have come from my own thoughts and perceptions, and also those of my students, their parents, my colleagues,and friends. Maybe you will find some inspiration in them as I did.

A) CONTRARY TO PUBLIC OPINION, WE ARE NOT WHAT WE DO.

This is a myth. Perpetuated by overachievers and carried on by those of us with a great
capacity for guilt. Your worth is not determined by the number of activities you advise, the amount of papers you correct, nor even the hours you devote to your job.

B )WE ARE WHAT WE SHARE.

We are…Language lovers. Caregivers. Thinkers. Motivators. Inspirers. Mentors. Instructors. Partners. Organizers. Creative geniuses. Laugh-makers. Leaders. Team-members. Mind-openers. Confidence-builders. That is who we are. THAT IS WHO YOU ARE. Very valuable…in this profession and in this world.

C) THE JOB GOES TO ONE WHO SAYS YES.

It has taken me 18 years of teaching…and a good many years of involuntary volunteerism before that to figure this out. Sometimes not saying no = saying yes.

D) IF I DON’T SAY YES THEY WILL FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL.

Say this to yourself over and over again until it starts to sound believable. They (the
powers that be and your own conscience) will tell you otherwise. Look around at all the other people who are not doing what you do. They said no. Look at all you do. You said yes. If you say no, someone will step up to fill the vacuum, in many cases. Saying yes does not make you better. It makes you busier. …and sometimes makes you bitter.

E)YOUR VERY NATURE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO BE A BAD TEACHER.

If you are a good teacher by nature and by practice, you will continue to be one. You
might be a DIFFERENT KIND of good teacher than you were 5 years ago or 5 years from now….but your knowledge, skill, caring, and love will always make you a good teacher.

F) YOU WILL EARN AS MUCH RESPECT FOR SETTING BOUNDARIES AS YOU WILL FOR TRYING TO DO IT ALL.

I did not know this. I still have to remind myself of it often. And even better, you will have something of yourself left at the end of the day.

G) IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA TO PUT OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN BEFORE YOUR OWN.

We have all seen it happen. The ideal teacher or principal. The award-winning coach. With no connection to their own. The older my children are (now 7 and 9) (additional note…they are now 25 and 27!!!) the more I see the truth in this.

H) YOU ARE TEACHING BY EXAMPLE.

I have seniors who we refer to as “serial joiners”. They have signed up for every club, activity and sport available. Some are near the nervous breakdown stage. Others have eating disorders. Must do everything. Perfectly if possible. I was one, can still be one if I am not careful. I don’t think it is healthy for them. I want them to learn to set priorities and manage time. Find balance. I cannot do that if I show them…by example…that I think a good person is one who does everything and does it well come hell or high water. If I only love myself as an overachiever , how can I convince them that they have great worth for who they are…not the number of items they accomplish in one day?

I) CAN I BE GRATEFUL ABOUT THIS…OR JUST RESENTFUL?

This is the test I have been using to decide whether to say yes or no. If I can be
grateful…it is worth considering. If I will only feel resentful (regardless of how good an idea it is or no matter how important it is to someone else!!!!!!!!!!!) I must seriously consider whether it is worth the time and energy involved.

J) NOT EVERYTHING MUST BE DONE RIGHT NOW.

I have a great list of great ideas. I take comfort in the fact that someday I will do most of them(or get someone else to !!) I am learning to wait to get them accomplished… Everything in its own time.

If you have made it to the end of this ramble…thanks for sticking with me….it was probably more helpful for me to write it to myself than for you to read it!! :o) Teresa, your discomfort and frustration right now are a healthy sign that you are ready to grow. Good things are coming your way personally and professionally. But you may have to let go of some things to
make room for them in your life. It may be an attitude, an outlook, or a responsibility. For some teachers it has even meant a change in position, to another facet of teaching, or a position in another district. For others, just a shift in their approach to each day’s work. I understand how you feel. My friends who are reading this will tell you I have been there and still find myself there many days. It is part of the midpoint in the teaching cycle…who knows…maybe any point in the cycle. But the cycle will continue…I wish you peace and joy with your life and your profession as you go. And strange as it may seem, the discomfort and
frustration may just bring you what you really want and need. Keep your eyes and heart open.

with love,
Laurie

Three Days for Two!

by lclarcq on February 13th, 2018

filed under Uncategorized

Teachers Pay Teachers is offering a sale on materials and Hearts For Teaching’s items are included!! For THREE days (not just two!) all materials will be 20% off! The store is still small, but growing! Look for new items starting tomorrow!

Click here to get to our page!!

Sale runs 2/14-1/16!!

Hello Australia!

by lclarcq on January 9th, 2018

filed under Uncategorized

I would like to start this post off with a thank you to Mr. Ian Perry of Brisbane, who invited Dr. Terry Walsh, Anny Ewing and myself to present and train teachers in Australia. Here is the Hearts For Teaching space for these conferences!

Stay tuned for more!

with love,
Laurie

Creating Stories Guide/Handout

by lclarcq on December 1st, 2017

filed under Archived Posts 2017, Creating Stories

Thank you Bonnie Chichester for creating this wonderful one page summary of the Creating Stories post!!

This is fantastic!!

CREATING STORIES GUIDE

with love,
Laurie

Creating Stories

by lclarcq on November 29th, 2017

filed under Archived Posts 2017, Creating Stories

*Check the end of the post for a great chart created by Bonnie Chichester based on this post!! Thank you Bonnie!!!!

There is a great discussion taking place on the IFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching page on Facebook! about how to choose structures that create interesting stories. I have a list somewhere that is a little more complete, but until I find it, here goes….

There are a number of ways to combine structures to create a story skeleton. It works most smoothly when the story evolves naturally from the problem. So, step #1: Identify the problem or the situation using a high-frequency or high-interest structure. Step #2: Look for “natural” reactions (think cause and effect) or complementary actions to that statement. Here are some ideas:
_____________therefore____________

is hungry —– wants to eat
is thirsty —– wants to drink
is tired —— wants to sleep
loses——looks for

_______________so_____________

gets sick——-goes to doctor
needs money—gets a job
admires—tries to impress

_____________but _______________

has—–loses
looks for —–cannot find
has to——forgets to
wants to/tries to—-is not able to
wants/likes/needs—-does not have
is asked to—-but refuses to

_____________then_____________

buys……eats/drinks/puts on/gives
eats……vomits

A variety of options can be created just using Terry Waltz’ “Super 7”:

wants/likes but does not have
wants/likes but there are none
Wants____ so goes to ____
is located in _____but/therefore/and wants______
goes to ____but doesn’t have_____
has ____but doesn’t like/want______

Just one of these options can lead to many, many stories:

Is in school but doesn’t have a pencil
Is in the ocean but doesn’t have a boat
Is in the bathroom but doesn’t have toilet paper
Is in the store but doesn’t have money
Is in the hospital but doesn’t have an illness
Is in trouble but doesn’t have a solution
Is at the doctor’s office but doesn’t have an appointment
Is at the entrance but doesn’t have a ticket
Is at the dance but doesn’t have a date
Is at the airport but doesn’t have a passport

And these are just the “basic” kinds of stories. With a little imagination and trial and error, stories can be much more interesting:

Is at Costco and the credit card has no limit.
Is on a beach but doesn’t have sunscreen for his/her whole body.
Is at the cashier after eating at a restaurant but doesn’t have money.
Is shopping at Petco but doesn’t have a pet
Is at a funeral but doesn’t have any idea who the deceased is.

Then add one of Mike Peto’s “Sweet Sixteen” structures:

Is at Starbucks, and Starbucks has no milk for coffee so puts_____in the coffee.
Is on Dancing with the Stars but has no partner so asks many people to dance.
Is at a birthday party but has no gift so looks for a gift in the house/restaurant.

Looks like folks there are starting a bit of a data base for ideas…come join us!

Here is the chart Bonnie put together!!
CREATING STORIES GUIDE
with love,
Laurie

COACH Inspires!

by lclarcq on November 4th, 2017

filed under Uncategorized

The folks at COACH have done an amazing job organizing today’s workshops!! Check out my presentations on COMMUNITY and EMBEDDED READING.

with love,
Laurie

Creating a Community

by lclarcq on October 13th, 2017

filed under Archived Posts 2017, Creating Stories, Engagement, Relationships

I had planned this as a listening activity….but it took on a life of its own! We had asked a story the day before using some phrases from the song Hoy Es Domingo sung by Diego Torres and Ruben Blades. (Check it out if you aren’t familiar with it!)

Phrases I wanted to include were:

It was Sunday.
S/he was in bed.
S/he wanted to sleep.

Each of the three Level 2 had co-created a great story the Thursday before and I wanted to go back and review the story on Monday.

My classes are good-sized: 30-34 students and I often feel like I am herding cats trying to keep us all together going the same direction at the same time. This was a total experiment, but I loved the result!

I divided the class into four groups. Each group had 1/2 of a large white board (I have two large boards, on opposite sides of the room) They arranged their chairs (we are deskless) in a semi-circle around their particular white board section.

I had drawn a grid of 16 squares on each white board and numbered them. One student went to the board in each group. I read the first sentence from the story out loud, in Spanish, and the author had THIRTY seconds to sketch that sentence in box #1. ONLY 30 SECONDS! The group was allowed to help with meaning and ideas for the sketch. ( Rules: No criticism of artwork or interpretation allowed. Suggestions welcome. English allowed…these were middle schoolers at the beginning of level 2) )We all applauded the artists and the next student went to the board.

My plan was to go until it fell apart. (Did you ever do that with a new activity?!!) But it never did! It just kept building momentum!

What I observed:

BONDING BONDING and more BONDING! These classes are a mixture of 7th and 8th graders with a 6th grader or two mixed in. The school has nearly 1000 students. They just don’t know each other outside of my class and they really got a chance to work with new people and connect. The rules kept great artists from getting frustrated and instead made them the expert with helpful suggestions and ideas. The students that weren’t as comfortable with the language had the support of the stronger students in the group. The kids who had no confidence in their artwork had the support of their group’s ideas.

GREATER COMPREHENSION! We revisited the story with the drawing and then, we used the drawings for several follow up activities! Each time my slower processing students understood the story with more detail and my faster processors were not bored in the least. Their own artwork was intriguing!

LAUGHTER! The fact that they only had 30 seconds to draw created just enough tension to lessen the pressure for perfection. In each group (without prompting from me1) one artist added a funny detail to the picture. It might have been a funny haircut on a stick figure or a facial expression etc. Then every artist afterwards continued to use it. It started a series of laughter among students who really hadn’t known each other well.

OWNERSHIP! Each group was very proud of their ‘creation” and posed for pictures with their artwork. (These are on the school device and I’ll upload them soon!)

I’ll follow up in the next post with our follow up activities!
with love,
Laurie

Power: Reflections on CIMidwest 17

by lclarcq on October 12th, 2017

filed under Archived Posts 2017, Relationships, Workshop Reflections

I’m a little behind schedule, but with a few minutes this morning in Maine, I want to share my thoughts on the CIMidwest 17 conference.

It was powerful.

Power was core of this conference.

Now, technically, the theme of the conference was Equity. But by the time the weekend was over, for me, it was about Power.

Bob Patrick was the keynote speaker and his speech may have been the best keynote I’ve heard. Bob is a great thinker, a thoughtful writer, and a gifted speaker. His speech felt like a close personal story. He spoke about his journey as an individual and as a teacher (they really aren’t separate journeys.) I took fervent notes and here are a few of Bob’s “quotes” that truly spoke to me:

“Building human relationships is the most important work that we do.”

“The most important element of any hour that we teach, is the people in the room.”

“Comprehensible, Compelling, Caring”

“Noticing matters.”

“Who is NOT in your room…and why not?”

“Use your students’ questions as a portal to make meaning.”

“What if my last nerve is really my next best opportunity to connect?”

And it all came down to the Power we each have to change lives.
And if we acknowledge that Power.
And how we understand that Power.
And how that Power becomes a lens through which we see the world….and our students.
And how we use that Power.
And how that affects the Power that our students do, or do not, have.

Because in the end, the type of Power and amount of Power an individual has impacts his/her ability to be “equal” to others. No Power = No equality. More Power = More privilege.

It was meant to make us ask ourselves questions and to reflect on how our thoughts, our feelings and our actions affect our students and their ability to harness and use Power.

It did.

And we carried those questions and continued those reflections throughout the day, with each session that we attended.

The organizers had invited presenters and had scheduled presentations knowing that each had something to offer that would help teachers to continue their questioning and thinking WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, acquiring skills and developing strategies.

Beautifully done.

Next year’s CI Midwest Conference will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 29. Theme to be announced, but it promises to be another well-organized, thoughtful AND useful opportunity!

with love,
Laurie

CIMidwest 17

by lclarcq on September 30th, 2017

filed under Uncategorized

A Hello! from Ripon, Wisconsin where I’m having a wonderful time at CIMidwest 17!! A wonderful shootout of THANKS to Erica Peplinski, Kelly Ferguson, Marta Ruiz, Grant Boulanger and Haiyun Lu, the organizers of this amazing event.

Here is the PowerPoint from our Story-Asking Workshop:

CI Midwest