What is hard? Yes. What it worth it? Definitely. [Teaching Grit]

As a classroom teacher, I do my best to teach life-skills in addition to content. I know that not all of my students will go on to be future chemists and computer scientists, but I know that they will all need to know how to work well with others, think critically, and apply creative problem solving. There are some life-skills that seem to lend themselves to being taught through extra-curricular activities, rather than class. Angela Duckworth discusses this concept in her book as well.

This weekend I traveled with my colleague and 7 students to Boston to attend Harvard's Mock Trial Seminar for high school students. Throughout the weekend, I observed my students learning life lessons that aren't necessarily taught during the school day.

Teamwork & Leadership
Over the weekend, the students prepared a mock trial case in 48 hours that we normally would have prepared over 3 months. To make this possible, they had to work together effectively. The students came into the seminar w…

Physics, Focus, and Board Breaking

This year has been harder than last, but I still love contributing to my blog and am ready to be back at it. If you listen to the "Ditch That Textbook" Podcast (which you should if you don't), then you've heard Matt Miller wrestle with the idea of not giving up when you miss a post or a few, so this is me getting back on the horse. Yee-haw!

PHSYICS Physics tells us that the force applied (F) divided by the area (A) it is applied over is equal to the pressure (P) exerted. What does this mean? This means that less force is needed to create the same amount of pressure over a smaller area than a larger area. If your efforts are focused on a small area, you are more likely to see the results of your efforts.

FOCUS This year more than most other years, I am noticing that I am teaching very tired students. My students are distributing their energy over so many different sports, clubs, and demanding courses that they are not able to give each aspect of their life the attention…

Show Don't Tell - 3 Reasons for Student Study Abroad

It is no secret that I have been pretty terrible at weekly blogging during this school year. Rather than share my laundry list of excuses, I'm going to own it. Sometimes balancing all your passions is hard, but I'm determined to get better.

When we want to see results from our students, we frequently use the phrase "show don't tell". It is especially common to hear this from ELA teachers when students are working on writing pieces. We want them to show the reader rather than just tell the reader. I am going to take the same piece of advice. Rather than tell you I'm back, I'll show you! You can expect weekly posts coming at you each Monday morning to help you start your week. Get ready, because I have some exciting new content ready to share with you all as I kick off this second phase of my blogging journey.

"Show don't tell" makes me think about why Study Abroad programs are such amazing opportunities for our students. I have been lucky eno…

True Life: First Day Back with Students

Did you ever watch MTV's True Life? Where they would show the unseen, little known aspects of activities, subcultures, and more. I know I watched it more than a couple of times. This post is going to be a True Life style look at what it is really like to be back for the first day of classes with students, and a few tips on how to make it the best day.

Goal- Students walk in early for class with smiles on their faces, into a Pinterest-perfect classroom.
Reality- Students are exhausted because they haven't woken up this early since June. They start their day frustrated because unlocking a new locker is hard. Despite working non-stop for the last ten days, you look at your classroom and see all the ways it could be better.
Tip- Your day will start the way you want it to. Ignore the imperfections in your room, because your kids don't notice them. All they know is you took the time to set things out on their desk, smile at them, and say good morning while offering to help them wit…

You're a teacher... so what do you do all summer?

I've been thinking about how to write this post all summer and I think I have finally wrapped my head around it. I am sure I'm not the only teacher who gets annoyed when she hears "but what do you DO  all summer" so I wanted to provide a little insight into what I do.
I work! I'm not sure if you're aware, but teachers are not making the big bucks. I know I am not the only teacher out there that spends time over the summer (and after school during the school year) working additional jobs. Fortunately for me, I L😍VE the work that I get to do. (See post: Why did I become a teacher? Because I was a black belt first. ) I also attend our international conference every year for ATA Taekwondo in order to be the best instructor and martial artist I can be. #lifelonglearner
I learn! I spend a lot of my summer traveling to conferences to present and to learn from others. One of the best ways to get better at what you do is to surround yourself by other motivated people i…

When was the last time you did something for the first time? - Presenting at ISTE 2018

I'm a big country music fan. I have had Darius Rucker's "When was the last time" stuck in my head this week. As educators, we encourage our students to try new things and take risks, but how often do we do this same? This week, I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something new and terrifying. I presented at my first international conference, ISTE 2018.

I applied on a whim last year to present on "Launching Computer Science for Every Student in Your School", a topic I am very passionate about. I knew that getting accepted to present at ISTE was unlikely because they receive so many applications, but I applied anyway. 
Rewind to several months later. The ISTE application was barely on my mind as I was in the heat of the semester. I was walking down the hallway after mock trial practice with a few students and my colleague and I audibly squealed. I was convinced I was misreading the email because I was full of self doubt. I had been accepted to present in…

Launching something new? Step 1 - Get Buy In!

The end of the school year always seems to soak up all the free hours in my day. As many educators can commiserate, there seems to be endless grading, organizing, and cleaning. Now that we are into our first week of summer, my reflective juices are flowing and I am looking forward to a restful and educational summer.

I have had the pleasure to be apart of several launches during my time as an educator. I have watched others launch, I have been part of launch teams, and like every classroom teacher I have launched countless projects, events, lessons, and new ideas in my class. As I sit back and reflect, each of these launches has something in common, they all require buy in.

Let me give you an example...

In my first year teaching, I went to NSTA's national conference. I saw Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams present. I knew as soon as I saw their presentation, that I wanted to flip my class. When I cam back to school, I launched one lesson and the following Fall, I completely flipped all …