Sunday, October 13, 2013


First of all, I want to share an absolutely awesome TED Talk by Shawn Achor on the Happiness Advantage.  I've watched it at least four times and intend to watch it some more. I love what he has to say because I often find myself rationalizing: If I can only get more of this school work done now, I'll be more settled at home. I am trying to challenge myself to take more time for joy at home, and I also want to incorporate his steps to rewiring our brains :) I love the parts about gratitude, exercise, and random acts of kindness.  Anyway, check it out, and see what your take-aways are...

I first saw it this August at teacher workshops, and then we shared it at our 6-8 ELA Pro Gro session this past Friday.  

Speaking of our Data Day, it was my lead teacher team's first go at running our grade level meetings, and I think they went pretty well.  We showed another TED Talk that really tackles the WHY of inquiry based units of study:

And we read the book ISH:

And we watched two videos from Love Esther Wu!!


And I gotta my 7th grade colleagues!  We also talked a lot, a lot, in between all that video-ish stuff.  We have important work to do this year: continuing on with writing and revising inquiry based units of study, revisiting our priority benchmarks, discussing and hopefully coming to some sort of conclusion on how to best integrate the language standards, looking at how we have bundled the standards and revising if need be.

A cool thing for me is that I got to hold the 7th grade meeting in my very own classroom!  There are six middle schools in my district, and the ELA morning meetings were at my building.  I set up the classrooms and tech, so of course I chose to be in my room.  My area/pod (used to be called house) is the closest to our big meeting area, too, so it made sense.  

Anyway, my room is always a work in progress, but here are a few photos of its current state.

The last three are of an idea I got this week from Pinterest.  It combines character traits + vocabulary + text evidence.  I forsee a new TPT product in my store   :)

Anyway, time to get some sleep; I'll write about where we are curriculum-wise soon.

Happy teaching,



  1. Great videos! I love the TED talk on Happiness and the ones with Esther Wu. I feel like I could learn so much from her. I love the way she structures her Socratic seminars with those different roles. I've had observers and speakers, but I like that she has people looking for specific things like transitions, text support, general notes on the flow of discussion, etc. What fabulous ideas!

  2. So glad you love the videos! I could watch Shawn Achor over and over :) We have been incorporating the "three gratitudes" into our supper talks the past several nights. I want to watch more on They are so well done and so relevant. Thanks for responding :) I follow you, too :)