Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Good Vibrations

Week 3

Everyday, at a continues rate, the kids are experiencing heavy doses of positivity. Whether it's discipline or discussion, positive energy builds constantly. Here are a couple examples of the positive foundation being laid at the start of each class.

As the students enter class, Mom has them slap a brightly colored icon. Depending on which one they choose, they get one of the following: a dance party, hug, or high five. Watching mom "try" to dance is a sight to behold, but the kids love it. This simple act starts the positive flow for the day, and smiles are always the first thing on their tiny faces.

The next thing she has the little ones do is sit in a circle and sing Kum Ba Yah. Just kidding, she calls this circle, morning meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to establish team work by getting the kids to share things on their mind or tell a story about something good that happened to them. Using accountable talk and showing respect for their fellow students creates an atmosphere of positive communication and inclusion.

Through these little things and many others, positivity permeates all conversations, lessons and a smile is the most common expression in the class. This positive mindset is crucial to the metacognitive strategies implemented in the classroom. With these happy brains, brain hooks are formed faster and much smoother. I leave her class everyday with a smile on my face and I can't wait to create the same environment in my classroom.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Week 2: A Call to Arms

Week 2:

The most important thing Mrs. Dahl teaches is metacognition. Understanding brain hooks, and the importance of knowing the difference between a fixed vs growth mindset can be applied to everything students will do in life. These kids are being setup to be life long learners, with a potential intellectual capacity far greater than their peers who do not learn about metacognition.

It's truly sad that not all students are receiving this information. Even me, an uneducated, fantasy football playing, meat-head can see the impact this is having on the students' learning. Metacognitive strategies will be the banner I carry into my teaching career.

After saying all this to mom, she gave me about seven of Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers books. They are two pioneers in the field of metacognitive teaching methods. With these books and mom as a guide, I hope to shape every step I take in my development as a teacher through metacognition and mindfulness.

Week two of school was just as inspiring as week one was. I can't believe how much I'm learning and how awesome this profession is. For the Love of Teaching makes sense to me now because... how could you not love this? Especially knowing that you're touching lives and the future.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Introducing My Classroom Observer - and Guest Blogger - My Son

My son, David, has decided to follow in my footsteps and become a teacher. I am beyond thrilled!

Me with my awesome sons, Jared and David.
David is the one in red.
In order to give him a realistic view of teacher life, and a window into brain-friendly teaching, I invited him into my classroom as an assistant and observer.  He plans to continue to do so as he works his way through online college. He has made some very astute and profound observations in the short time he has been in my class. I thought it would be a fantastic exercise for him to blog some of his reflections, and he agreed.

David and his brother love to poke fun at each other, so David decided it would be awesome to make his blog name: The Favorite Son. Therefore, when you see a post from The Favorite Son...that would be David. Sigh. What's a mother to do? In case you're wondering...they both know I don't play favorites!

I'm putting the ornery guy's initial post below, but in the future, he will post under the name: The Favorite Son. Please enjoy his (our) journey, and feel free to offer feedback, comments, and/or advice.


As you can tell by my username, I'm the "favorite" son of Diane Dahl, and must always remind my brother of it no matter the platform I'm using. As the favorite, Mrs. Dahl asked me to come and observe her class with hopes that being around people who live to learn and love their jobs would motivate me to go back to school. I'm incredibly proud to say that it has! So, this is my journey and observations of my wild and wacky mother's class.

My goals for this blog are quite simple. I must work on my writing, as it's my weakest area of knowledge, and track the lessons I'm learning in the classroom. Mom's teaching and genuine love for her students have completely changed the trajectory of my life, and I hope this blog shows you why.

Week 1:
It's the first day of school, and full engagement versus chaos is the battle of the day. The kids walk in with intense energy and voices barely under control. "It's like herding cats," mom says with a big excited smile on her face. Immediately this eases my anxiety and lets me know that within the all-consuming energy, she is the master.

The word enthusiasm just isn't a strong enough a word to describe her teaching. I've never seen anything like it. She was up dancing on a table at one point. At another point, she ran screaming out of the classroom. These kids just have no idea what they are in for.

Enthusiasm became a keyword, and one she would repeat to me almost every day during the first week. Her enthusiasm is so infectious that it didn't just spread to me, but also to her students. Toward the end of class every day I hear her students talking about what they are working on... with excitement! That love of learning is spread through the conduit of her enthusiasm.

The first week taught me that relationships with the students are key. "They don't care about what you know unless they know that you care." She said that to me on the first day and I've seen the effect of it though out the week.