Lead in 2020

My mantra for 2020.

“I learned how important it is to lead and be decisive and to, in a way, empower other people to do their best.” – Anna Wintour

I have never been more excited for a new year to start than 2020. This is a year of change and I’m excited to see how myself and others evolve over the next 12 months.

My Back Story

I’ve been making myself a priority since about the second week of September. Being a mom and teacher can make it easy to fall on the back burner in terms of importance.

In September I was at the highest weight I had been at in my entire life. I was ashamed, embarassed, disgusted…well, you get the point. I thought that the less I went out and the more clothing I piled on would hide the fact that I was unhappy and extremely unhealthy. I was wrong.

My daughter around this point had started using her Kindle and our phones to take pictures. Things hadn’t really sunk in for me and how much I had negwtively changed until I saw a picture of myself that she had taken. All I remember thinking was, Oh my God. Do I really look like that? You can probably imagine how mortified I was at this point.

The Game Changer

Noom. I don’t remember how I came across it, but it has honestly been the best thing that I could have done for my health. If you’re not familiar with Noom I’ll break it down for you. Yes, it’s a weight management plan. Yes, it does cost money, but it’s so much more than that.

Noom breaks doen the psychology of why we as people do what we do. What triggers us to make unhealthy choices and how we can be proactive about the environment, situations, and decisions we make. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Lead in 2020

So far I’ve just been rehashing 2019. So what am I going to do differently in 2020? I’m going to lead.

Lead is described by Webster’s Dictionary as “the initiative in an action; an example for others to follow.”

That’s exactly what I want to do! I feel that for a majority of my life I’ve taken a backseat, a spot in the audience, a supporting role. I want to demonstrate not only for myself, but my two kiddos, and my students that taking the initiative in life, whether it be with their personal situations outside of school or with their academics, that THEY CAN DO IT! What’s stopping them? I want to spark a fire in my students to want to evolve for the better. To better themselves and their own lives.

Here are some ways that I plan on pushing my students towards being a leading role in their own lives.

1. Be a great communicator. Express your thoughts and feeling with others. Be true and honest with not only others, but most importantly yourself.

2. Admit when you’re wrong. No one is perfect. It takes a strong person to admit when they’ve been wrong or have done someone or something harm. It shows strength to admit our downfalls and to own them.

3. Learn when to spot talent and give credit where it is due. Supporting your peers and others. Don’t be afraid to compliment someone. Learn what you can from others and use it to help you grow.

4. Be part of the team and invest in other people. By putting time and effort into relationships we are showing others that they matter to not only us, but to our community.

6. Have fun. Plain and simple. Enjoy life and all that it has to offer.

7. Show compassion and care. Be a support system to others. Like I mentioned above, no one is perfect. Guide others if possible, but don’t point out flaws for your own enjoyment and gain.

8. Be confident in your decision. Be proud of who you are and how you live your life. Be aware of who you are making decisions for and why you are making them. Who are you trying to please? Yourself or others?

I hope that this post made you think. Maybe you’re contemplating how to be a leader in your own life, or maybe you’ve just wondered why I’ve been so peppy and happier lately. Either way, consider making a positive change in your life. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Best –

Kelsey

Staying Sane During the Holidays (Classroom Edition)

The holidays can be roooooough! Not only for someone in a personal life, but if you’re a teacher it can make counting down the days until Winter Break feel like an E.T.E.R.N.I.T.Y! Below you’ll find my usual game plan for how to keep myself and my students sane.

It’s suggested that we cover A Christmas Carol where I teach, this is the norm in most of the school districts in my area. Last year was my first time teaching it, so I wanted to ba as conscious about my students’ beliefs as we treaded forward.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE BREAK:

I usually start the week of by having students answer a simple journal prompt question like, What are some traditions that you have? I figure if I leave it pretty open students are able to apply it to any type of group they’d like to associate it with, whether it’s family, religion, friends, or other.

Once we have the students sharing memories of years past I spring on them a few details of Winter Solstice. It’s pretty fun to see them pick apart the similarities between that and their own winter holiday.

An activity that I created can be found at my TpT store. This is an activity that I have the students work on for around two days and then they present their information for two days. I only “plan” for a four-day week because the last day of the week in my classroom is designated for SSR.

ONE WEEK BEFORE BREAK:

The week before the prized break is pretty simple, and the students ALWAYS seem to enjoy it; hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself!!

I started it off this year with the journal prompt question, Would you rather live by the sea or the mountains? Would you rather live in a big city or in the countryside? After the students shared their responses we broke into a small discussion about communities growing and why people flood to, or go to certain cities. This moved to a conversation about the Industrial Revolution and why someone would move to London when back when.

To help give students a visual of what life was like back in Charles Dickens’ day I show them the first 40-ish minutes of the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics (2012) and it is always a hit! It’s fun to see the students ask questions and get excited. After we have a brief chat about how this is the “pretty” version of what things looks like back then I transition at some point, depending on the time left in the class hour, into The Worst Jobs in History: Industrial Revolution video. It is pure gold!

These two videos usually lend themselves to some great talks and discussions. We use them as a reference point throughout the reading of A Christmas Carol. It’s a great starting base for the students.

Questions that I utilize throughout the reading of A Christmas Carol are as follows:

  • Do you believe in free will or fate? Explain
  • Why do people deserve kindness?
  • Would you rather be loved or feared?
  • Does money really matter?
  • Which spirit do you believe had the greatest impact on Scrooge? Why?
  • What is the difference between good and evil?

These ideas have always worked really well for me, and I hope that they work well for you as well!

Best –

Kelsey

Week at a Glance

The week at a glance has been interesting, but what more could one expect with a short week. The students have been reading The Wednesday Wars (and they are almost since), and to help them understand the time period of the late 1960’s we’ve also been watching The Wonder Years. With the help of these resources the students have been working on connecting with different mediums and literature. It’s truly been fun to watch!

The unintended focus this year in my class has been, what it’s like to be a 7th grader. After picking my texts and looking at other resources I have been striving to have them realize that we are not alone. One of my favorite quotes is, “We read to know that we’re not alone.” That’s the one thing that I want my students to walk away from my class with the knowledge of; we’re not alone. You’re not alone. One thing that I really appreciate about The Wednesday Wars is that we’ve been able to connect it to so many current events and situations for the students that they seem to be enjoying it more than I thought they would.

I’m trying something new with this novel, (well, the novel to me is new because I’ve never taught it before) is that I’m not using a traditional study guide. The students have been answering questions that help them relate to the novel instead of things that are too specific about the text.

From a teaching standpoint, it feels like the students are getting more out of the novel because I’m not asking them to recall details about what color shoes the main character is wearing, or what state the story is taking place in. We’ve spent more time discussing what the actions, motives, and emotions are of the characters that we are reading about.

If you’d like to find out how I’ve been going out planning this unit drop a comment below and I’ll make a blog post about it.

Best –

Kelsey

Third Time is the Charm

I’d be lying if I didn’t say creating, deciding, and designing a website/brand is a serious challenge. This is my third go around. My third site name. My third purchased page. My third, and hopefully final, attempt. Uff.

My name is Kelsey and I’m 30 years young. My husband and I are getting by and raising our two toddlers in the midwest. I’m in my 6th year of teaching English, and my 30th year of living in the midwest. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, yet I’m forever stuck in middle school (and I love it).

My hopes for this site are that I can share my strengths and struggles both in the classroom and in the “real world”. I would love to share what I know and learn more from those of you who are willing enough to read my posts.

Another thing that I would like to share about my journey through life is my weight loss peaks and pits as I try to navigate losing weight with a crazy chaotic life between grading papers to changing diapers and back again.

As I always tell my student, “I never promised I’d be perfect.” I can’t wait to share in this craziness with you.

Best –

Kelsey