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Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner

Teachers can learn so much about teaching by putting themselves in a position of a learner!

Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner: here are some ways that being a learner can help a person learn about teaching.

I've recently taken up Tai Chi, and have put myself in the position of learner again.

There are a whole lot of things I'm loving about learning Tai Chi, but that's not really what this post is about.

This post is about what I've been experiencing as a learner.

The Tai Chi instructors use a 3-3-3 method of teaching.

1. First the instructors demonstrate a move 3 times. They do it slowly and talk it through, drawing attention to specific parts. (Tai Chi is VERY detailed! Every muscle of the body is facing a certain direction and performing a specific function!)

2. Then, they do the move with us, guiding us, talking us through it as we do it.

3. Finally, after practicing together, we do the move without the teacher. Even then, since there are several levels of experience in the group, and most of us watch out of the corner of our eye to make sure we're doing the right thing.

Some things I really love about this:

1. We get plenty of opportunity to see what the move should look like.

2. We get to practice with help. (Teachers know this as Guided Reading.)

3. When we practice without the instructor, (s)he watches us to see if we're getting it, and if we're not, (s)he goes over what we're not getting. 

4. We  help and support each other. 

Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner:

1. It's helpful to have different people explain something to you. Each instructor says things in a slightly different way, and one of those ways will be the way you'll learn it! 

2. As I get toward the end of the class, I start to lose the ability to focus. No matter how great the teaching is, (which is always wonderful) I usually need some "re-teaching" at the next session.

3. I need lots of repetition before something really sinks in for good.

4. Talking to other people that are learning the same thing really helps!

5. Working together and leaning on each other helps the whole group get better.

The form of Tai Chi that I've been learning is Taoist Tai Chi.

Recently, the New York Times published these articles about Tai Chi:


Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner: here are some ways that being a learner can help a person learn about teaching.

Partner Standing Challenge: Learning to Work Together!

Here's a fun way to encourage children (or adults) to work together!

Partner Standing Challenge: Learning to work together! Here's a fun challenge that won't take up too much time, but will help children or adults learn to work together.


This is a relatively quick one, but it really emphasizes the need for each partner to do his/ her part!

Participants will need a partner.

Some group members may choose not to participate, if they are uncomfortable with touching others. That's OK. Our goal is NOT to make anyone feel uncomfortable. They can work as "coaches."

The job of each partnership: Partners sit back to back with arms interlocked.  While pushing gently against each other, they help each other stand up.

The job of the coaches: It's important for coaches to observe first, without saying anything. The coaches should notice what the partnerships are doing that's working, and notice what's not working. If a partnership is successful, the coach needs to point that out. If a partnership is not successful, the coach needs to be kind, point out what they're doing correctly, and if needed, give hints.

When a partnership has completed the challenge: Try it again with a different partner!

Extra challenge: Try with groups of 4!

Don't forget: The most important part of a challenge like this is the discussion afterward. Be sure to ask questions such as... What did you and your partner do that worked? What did you and your partner do that didn't work? What did you learn about working together?

Partner Standing Challenge: Learning to work together! Here's a fun challenge that won't take up too much time, but will help children or adults learn to work together.

Helping Parents Help their Children Be Successful!

Communicating with parents can be tricky, especially when it comes to giving them advice! There's a fine line between "helping" and "making them feel inadequate." 

Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!

So how do we help parents help their children?

We know that parents aren't experts, but we know they are experts about their own children! 

Plus, we know they love those children unconditionally, and would do anything to help them!

When giving suggestions, it's important that one doesn't put them on the defense. I prefer to use phrases like "experts say," or "recent research shows."

Another idea?  Pass the buck!

Have someone else give them the advice!

That's just what I've been working on: brochures to help parents help their children be successful! 

My first issue is the back to school edition, and it's free!


Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!
It comes with ideas and suggestions for use, and can be printed in color or in black and white.

Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!
Printing in black and white on colored paper is awesome!

Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!

It might be a good idea NOT to send this home the first week of school when parents are overwhelmed with paperwork. It will be more likely to be noticed the second week of school!

I'd love to see what you think of these brochures... I'm working on the next edition and I'd love to hear your ideas!




Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!

5 Summer "Must Dos" for Teachers

Summer Vacation! 

Some of you have been on vacation for quite a while!

Others just barely started vacation.

Wherever you are in your vacation, it's well deserved, and I hope you're enjoying it!

But there are a few things to accomplish before the summer is over:






5 Summer "Must Dos" for Teachers: Here are five things that teachers should do in order to make the summer complete.
Once you've caught your breath, be sure to reflect on the past year. 

Think about your successes! What made them successes? What made them successes? What could make them even better? Will you try these next year?

Think about the things that didn't work this year. Why didn't they work? What could you have done to make them work? Will you try these next year?

What was the best part of the year?

5 Summer "Must Dos" for Teachers: Here are five things that teachers should do in order to make the summer complete.
You've worked hard and deserve to relax. Give yourself some down time where you don't have to think about anything!

One of my favorite ways to relax is to sit by a body of water and read, with my feet in the sand and a book in my hand! There are plenty of other ways to relax, too! What's your favorite?

5 Summer "Must Dos" for Teachers: Here are five things that teachers should do in order to make the summer complete.
It's quite possible that this can overlap with #2, but having fun is essential when you've spent the last 10 months dealing with a stressful job! Lunch with friends, dinner with the husband, or a water park with the family. Whatever is fun for you, it's the time to do it!

Be sure to include something that makes you laugh... it's healthy!

Summer is really the only time of year I can escape into a book. During the school year, I'm reading books to improve my craft, or some other work related non-fiction. If I try to read for fun, I fall asleep!  It's time to escape into a book. I'd love to know about your favorite summer reads!

5 Summer "Must Dos" for Teachers: Here are five things that teachers should do in order to make the summer complete.

Yes, it's not too early to start thinking about the next school year. Maybe not too much yet, but start thinking about what you might expect this coming year. Since you already reflected about this year with #1, it won't be too much trouble to start thinking about the future. 


5 Summer "Must Dos" for Teachers: Here are five things that teachers should do in order to make the summer complete.

30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 30 - I am a Passionate Teacher!

Today is the final day of my 30 days of Self-Affirmations!
Here's today's affirmation: 


30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 30: I am a passionate teacher! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa  Blog Post: http://bit.ly/2K2xldp

I am a passionate teacher. I truly care about the children and care about helping them make themselves the best they can be!

I wanted to be a teacher ever since I could remember. I don't remember ever wanting to be anything but a teacher. When I was in high school, I was able to work in a Kindergarten for a couple of hours a week, and that finalized my decision. I went to a teacher's college, and worked hard to do well, because I wanted to get a job! Every job I had along the way, I chose with teaching in mind. I was a babysitter, lifeguard (including teaching swimming lessons), camp counseling, and day care provider. It was always about the kids. I managed to graduate with highest honors, (summa cum laude) which helped me land that first teaching job.

I've taught just about every grade for the last 40 years, but my favorite was definitely teaching Kindergarten. I think I spent the most years in second grade, but I've taught everything between Pre-K through 8th grade at some point. Somewhere along the line I managed to get a Master's degree in Creative Arts in Learning, too! (A perfect match for me!)

The primary grades have always been my strength. I relate to that age group the best, and have the background needed for beginning readers, writers, and mathematicians.

I did it for 40 years. 
I retired last June, and I miss it terribly.

About the picture:  I estimate this picture was taken about 10 years ago at the start of the year in my second grade classroom. It was at Open House the night before school started that year. My happy place.

If you want to know more about why I'd sharing daily affirmations, see this post: Why am I Sharing 30 Days of Self Affirmations?

If you want to know more about me, or join in the "self affirmation" fun, follow me on social media. You can find all the links HERE!


To sign up for my newsletter, click HERE!

Now tell us something good about yourself!
30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 30: I am a passionate teacher! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa  Blog Post: http://bit.ly/2K2xldp



30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 29 - I am Strong!

Today is the twenty ninth day of my 30 days of Self-Affirmations!
Here's today's affirmation: 
30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 29: I am strong! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa  Blog post: http://bit.ly/2KeDgvd

I am strong!

I've had to be strong, I really didn't have a choice!
I've had lots of things come along in my life where I had no choice but to be strong.

The most challenging, by far, was my divorce.

Before I got married, I made it clear that I grew up Catholic, and divorce was completely unacceptable. He claimed to understand. A few years later, following the most challenging event of our marriage, he announced he was leaving. I was completely blindsided. I had no idea he wasn't happy. I was incredibly happy being married, and he told me he loved me every day. Sometimes several times a day.

I remember lying on the kitchen floor in a fetal position, sobbing, while my beautiful little toddler brought me tissues.

Somehow I had suddenly become a single parent. It was sooooooo far from what I wanted in life, but I had no choice in the matter.

So I got back on my feet and pushed. 

I'm not sure I was a pleasant person to be around back then, but I did the best I could for the sake of my daughter.

Honestly, she's the one who gave me strength. I don't know how I would have made it through those next few years without her. 

I went back to work. I leaned on friends. I took my beautiful toddler to Disney World.  Then I joined a new theatre group. I showed up at an audition for Me and My Girl, not knowing a soul, and got the lead! 

Boy did my self esteem need that! Plus, I made some lifelong friends that helped me through such a difficult time, and are still there today. 

Plenty of other things have required me to be strong, such as having a stroke in 2010, and dealing with retirement last year. (It's much harder than I ever thought it would be!)

But the divorce was, by far, the event that tested my strength.

About the picture:  After Me and My Girl, we had a great cast party at a beach by a lake. I brought my toddler, and we had a wonderful time! My daughter took her first motorboat ride and met a lot of wonderful friends that day.

If you want to know more about why I'd sharing daily affirmations, see this post: Why am I Sharing 30 Days of Self Affirmations?

If you want to know more about me, or join in the "self affirmation" fun, follow me on social media. You can find all the links HERE!


To sign up for my newsletter, click HERE!

Now tell us something good about yourself!


30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 29: I am strong! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa  Blog post: http://bit.ly/2KeDgvd

30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 28 - I Tip Well!

Today is the twenty eighth day of my 30 days of Self-Affirmations!
Here's today's affirmation: 
30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 28: I tip well! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa Blog post: http://bit.ly/2MiC9bg



I tip well!

I've already mentioned that I am polite and show respect to those with whom I interact. That includes wait staff, hairdressers, taxi and Uber drivers, hotel workers and anyone else who might do a service for me!

People need to be appreciated.

About the picture:  This is my friend Bex, also another New Hampshire blogger. Her blog is Reading and Writing Redhead. We've been to many conferences, workshops, and get togethers, and have shared many a meal as well as being roommates at some events. This was taken at a Teachers Pay Teachers convention in Las Vegas at dinner. One of the best things about these conferences is the opportunity to have meals with some totally awesome teachers!

If you want to know more about why I'd sharing daily affirmations, see this post: Why am I Sharing 30 Days of Self Affirmations?

If you want to know more about me, or join in the "self affirmation" fun, follow me on social media. You can find all the links HERE!


To sign up for my newsletter, click HERE!

Now tell us something good about yourself!


30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 28: I tip well! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa Blog post: http://bit.ly/2MiC9bg

30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 27 - I'm a Sap!

Today is the twenty seventh day of my 30 days of Self-Affirmations!
Here's today's affirmation: 


30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 27: I'm a sap! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa  Blog post: http://bit.ly/2lxmXMp

I'm a sap!

I've always been a sentimental soul! OK, some people call it sensitive. I've been called overly sensitive, but I'm proud to be sensitive, and love being a person who feels things intensely. (See this post for Day 21: I am Sensitive.)

I've always been one to cry easily. When I was a kid, I cried way too much. I've gotten a lot stronger about not crying when I'm sad or lonely. But the tears flow easily when my heart is touched. Most of my tears these days are happy tears. Very rarely do I cry when I'm sad. (Although I've been known to cry when I'm angry!)

Guaranteed tears:
*the birth of a child
*weddings of people I know and care about
*a song that sparks special memories
*patriotic music
*telling about something I'm super proud of, like teaching moments
*videos of dogs rescuing people
*videos of people rescuing dogs (or other animals in need)

and the one thing that will guarantee tears in seconds:
*videos of soldiers returning home and surprising their loved ones

About the picture:  This is a group of ladies that have been super important to me ever since college in the 70s. These are some of my sorority sisters on a weekend together. These ladies make me laugh, cry, and just plain feel good that they are there.  

Whenever we get together, there is plenty of laughter, lots of reminiscing of our college days, talk about "old people" issues (retirement, grandchildren, colonoscopies) and some happy tears.

If you want to know more about why I'd sharing daily affirmations, see this post: Why am I Sharing 30 Days of Self Affirmations?

If you want to know more about me, or join in the "self affirmation" fun, follow me on social media. You can find all the links HERE!


To sign up for my newsletter, click HERE!

Now tell us something good about yourself!


30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 27: I'm a sap! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa  Blog post: http://bit.ly/2lxmXMp

30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 26 - I Like to Laugh

Today is the twenty sixth day of my 30 days of Self-Affirmations!
Here's today's affirmation: 
30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 16: I like to laugh! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa



I like to laugh!

I've been told I have a "different" sense of humor. I admit, I spent so much time with primary aged children, I tend to still think about things that might be funny from their point of view. But I can also get together with adult friends and laugh like crazy as well. 

Doesn't that feel good? Laughing? 
There's not enough laughter in our world these days.

But honestly, no one can make me laugh like my sister! Maybe it's because we grew up together and developed our senses of humor together. But when we chat on the phone or get together (which isn't often enough) we laugh.

And sometimes we have serious conversations, but we also laugh!

About the picture:  Way back in the mid 80s, my teacher friend, Carolyn, and I went on a trip to Los Angeles, where my brother lived at the time. We left bright and early in the morning, so by the time we got to LAX, where my brother picked us up, we were overtired and "punch drunk." (Do people still use that expression anymore? It's when you're super tired and silly, and laughing at anything.)

We stopped for coffee and were laughing hard at something ridiculously silly.  Sure enough, Carolyn was laughing so hard that coffee came out of her nose. 

My brother was horrified. 

He couldn't bring himself to talk to Carolyn for a couple of days. After a few days, he finally realized Carolyn wasn't a "dumb blonde," but an intelligent, interesting person who just happened to be overtired after the flight. 

The picture is from our trip to Disneyland during this trip.

Boy, did we laugh a lot on that trip! 

If you want to know more about why I'd sharing daily affirmations, see this post: Why am I Sharing 30 Days of Self Affirmations?

If you want to know more about me, or join in the "self affirmation" fun, follow me on social media. You can find all the links HERE!


To sign up for my newsletter, click HERE!

Now tell us something good about yourself!


30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 16: I like to laugh! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa

30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 25 - I am Polite

Today is the twenty fifth day of my 30 days of Self-Affirmations!
Here's today's affirmation: 


will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa  Post link:  http://bit.ly/2K1pAo0

I am polite!

This is a pet peeve of mine

I believe all people have value and all people deserve to be treated with good manners.

Even if I have the right of way, if I'm crossing a street and know someone is waiting for me, I cross quickly.

In the grocery store, I pull my cart out of the way if I need time to browse.

If there is someone behind me as I enter or exit a building, I hold the door for them. If someone holds a door for me, I say, "Thank you!"

If a car lets me into their lane, I always give a big "thank you" wave. In fact, I usually say "thank you" out loud, even though they can't hear me.

I always, always, always use kind words and a positive attitude toward wait staff, receptionists, nurses, custodians, clerks, and anyone else with whom I interact.

If I'm on a plane, a bus, or an Uber, I always thank the pilot, flight attendant, or driver when the ride is over.

I can't think of anyone on earth that doesn't deserve that respect.

About the picture: Last fall, there was a Teachers Pay Teachers get together in Boston called the Boston TpTea Party. Many of my seller friends from around the country came to Boston to network and learn more about our craft. 

Even though I was a local and grew up in the Boston area, I went sight seeing with the visitors, proud of my city. We took the Trolley Tour, which was pretty flexible. You could get on and off the trolley anytime you wanted, (Such as in the North End for Italian food and cannolis!) and pick up the next trolley as it came by. 

When we got off the trolley the first time, the others went on and on about the trolley driver's thick Boston accent. Honestly, I didn't even notice an accent! I guess I lived near Boston longer than I'd thought! The others did manage to catch my Boston on several occasions for the rest of the weekend. 

My favorite quote of the weekend, "Does Boston have a football team?"

If you want to know more about why I'd sharing daily affirmations, see this post: Why am I Sharing 30 Days of Self Affirmations?

If you want to know more about me, or join in the "self affirmation" fun, follow me on social media. You can find all the links HERE!


To sign up for my newsletter, click HERE!

Now tell us something good about yourself!


3will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2JuKRWa  Post link:  http://bit.ly/2K1pAo0

30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 24 - I am Organized

Today is the twenty fourth day of my 30 days of Self-Affirmations!
Here's today's affirmation: 
30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 21: I am sensitive! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2tepuPJ

I am Organized

I've never thought of myself as an organized person, but I guess I am! People who have worked in my classroom have always raved about how organized I am.

Who, me? 
But look at that pile of clutter!

I guess a clue that I'm organized is that I pretty much always know where my stuff is. 

If I don't remember where I put it, I'll check in the obvious place, and there is is! I guess I'm so organized I put things away properly and don't remember doing it.

Even if it's not in the obvious place, I retrace my steps, and there it is! (Especially my phone!)

Unless it's my glasses. They're always on top of my head.

About the picture:  This picture was from a show I did way back near the beginning of my theatre career. Way back in "B.C." (That's "Before Corinne," my daughter!) This was somewhere in the mid-to-late 80s. The show was called Dames at Sea. The show is very 30s, with lots of fun music and tons of dancing. And tons of costumes. Luckily, I had those organizational skills to help me through those fast costume changes!

If you want to know more about why I'd sharing daily affirmations, see this post: Why am I Sharing 30 Days of Self Affirmations?

If you want to know more about me, or join in the "self affirmation" fun, follow me on social media. You can find all the links HERE!


To sign up for my newsletter, click HERE!

Now tell us something good about yourself!
30 Days of Self-Affirmations: Day 21: I am sensitive! For 30 days, I will be celebrating my own "new year" with self-affirmations. If you are interested in joining me, feel free to write your own affirmations here, or respond on my social media here: http://bit.ly/2tepuPJ



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