“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
It has been 4 weeks and I can't believe the change I am noticing in my teaching. The approach of simplicity and getting back to best practices has given me permission to be "wide-eyed", more patient, and more aware of my teaching tools.
TEACHING: I have been working on my wait time and last week shifted to being aware of my level of support when I do decide to nudge the conversation or situation. Am I giving assistance or am I giving the answer for sake of time? To help me gauge that I was moving toward independence and not just staying in "we do", I asked the kids when they left our group to name one thing they did by themselves that day. As they skipped down the hall (or walked backwards for a few of them :), the comments proved that I had provided wait time and varying levels of support. The fact that each student from kindergarten through third grade could name something they did in their tier 2 guided reading group amazed me. They were more specific than some of my notes. I was so proud of them! It made slowing down all worth it. PS...one day...just for one day I want to walk down the hall like a first grader. Skipping, smiling, wearing creative outfits, walking backward, and talking about things that are most important...lunch, animals, tractors, a friend's stuffed animal...we are so fortunate to be around these personalities each day.
So I spent the week reading Kate Messner's 59 Reasons. She has hit another home run and I am not even done with the book! The passion and excitement I felt about my own need for writing came rushing back by the end of chapter two! The best reminder..."I made time because it was important to me (page 26)." As soon as I am done, you can believe there is more coming on this book!
My focus for next week? Commit to my notes. It comes from my students that reflected with me skipping down the hall this week. As I listened to their comments, I realized that I wanted to pay more attention to my note taking during guided reading this week. I am not going to change what I do or start a new form, but I am going to reflect on...am I writing down what is most important to inform my instruction for the next day? How is my note taking system working? Do I write down only what they don't do or do I take the time to write down the celebrations? I will let you know after all my reflecting!
MIND: Commit to gratitude. Now that my body has more energy, my mind needs to focus on this simple strategy that can make a huge difference on my outlook. There are no shortcuts to happiness. Even generally happy people do not find joy every hour of the day. But a happy person having a busy or bad day can find gratitude in the small things in life. So this week I am going to slow down and focus on gratitude. I need to remember the things I am grateful for, I need to share these thoughts each day with a friend or partner, and I need to go out of my way to show gratitude when others help me. In the hustle and bustle of life, I want to put my head down each night appreciating the simple things in life and put worry to the side.
BODY: Drinking water, committing to the calendar for my fitness time, planning and prepping meals for the week on Sunday. Check! After four weeks, the results were a 6 pound loss for the first four weeks introducing each focus one week at a time! I think I need one more week of combining all three so it can become my "simple" routine and new habit. I am noticing a change!