Category Archives: Teaching
Advice to Writers: Read Good Books
“If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you.” ~NATALIE GOLDBERG
5 Steps to a Growth Mindset in the Classroom
“Never question ability, always improve strategy.”
Here’s a visual guide to fostering a growth mindset in the classroom. I linked a video to Angela Duckworth’s excellent TedTalk on the subject at the bottom of this post.
Click here for Angela Duckworth’s tedTalk on why we need to encourage growth mindset with our students.
I hope you found this infographic helpful. If you need more information on how to foster grit and a a growth mindset in your classroom, feel free to reach out in the comments.
Lisa, aka The Happy Teacher
Get up, get going, and look fear in the face.
Make a wish, Spread your wings, and Fly
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly you cease forever to do it.”
This advice is from J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan…and it works for all of us. Never stop believing in your goal. Or, if you notice that you do stop believing…it’s probably time to find the next goal or chapter in your life.
Because you? You were meant to FLY!
Happy Tuesday, Happy Summer…happy life!
Leave a comment to let us know your summer wishes. Feel free to share this post! ❤
ps: I took this photo and I’m pretty happy with the way it all turned out. 🙂
Photo by @english_musings
Writing Haiku in the Rain
On Wednesday, it rained in Northern California. This is something that hasn’t been happening very often. (See also: drought.) It was glorious & noteworthy.
And so, my frosh college comp students wrote haikus about the rain. Yes, it had to happen.
And it was good. To stop. To not rush. To listen. Feel. Connect. Discover. To Write. Together.
Here’s some of what they had to say. (All writing by English100 students, each space is a new writer):
Rain is like wet peace
Cascading down my body
Piercing my very soul
Grey slippery drops
Renewing luscious hillsides
Quenching nature’s thirst
Joy Fills the Gray Sky
Dull Struggles are Dropped
Clouds filled with wet life
Sound of peace with sleep
The earth is renewed
Every time rain falls down
Water creates life.
Each line is a complete image in very few words. I compiled this one longer poem from various lines out of the students’ original work. Each one was lovely as a stand alone haiku, but putting it together like this connected writers’ ideas to a collaborative mosaic.
Do you teach poetry in your classes? If so, what do the students think? A few of mine were skeptical at first. They needed time to brainstorm, to think it out, and to really understand that there was no objective, and no assessment. If the haiku turned out well, great. If students weren’t happy with it, then they need not turn it in. Low risk and high reward, especially as students read their poems aloud. I hope you will take some time to notice the rain, or the snow, or whatever else is of interest in your part of the world. Make it noteworthy. Craft some poetry together. Share some writing. Make some connections.
I happen to love the rain. Do you? I love the smell, the way the air feels. I love walking across campus in it. Here in California, we aren’t going to be making our way out of this devastating drought anytime soon, but at least we had a little sliver of silver lining on Wednesday.
Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher)
Need a refresher course on Haiku? It’s a form of Japanese poetry made up of three lines. Lines are 5/7/5 syllables each. The first line consists of 5 syllables, the second line consists of 7 syllables, and the third line consists of 5 syllables. Haiku often focuses on nature. For more on how to write a haiku, click here.
Live Dangerously. Read!
I’m reblogging this post in honor of Banned Books Week 2014, where that lovable baby in a diaper is once again the most dangerous book in America. Ahh Dav Pilkey. I’m so proud to be one of your biggest fans!
The best way to fight censorship? Read. Read one of the books on this list, or read anything. Just read.
Celebrate Banned Books-read one of these 40 books that have been banned or otherwise challenged.
Biggest surprise? Charlotte’s Web. But maybe an even bigger surprise…the #1 Most Banned Book of 2012. Think you know what it is? Post your guess in the comments and I will let you know on Thursday.
For now, I’ll give you a hint–it *is a children’s book. Ok, I’ll give you two hints–it is not pictured here. Good luck!
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Light Some Fires: The Top 4 Strategies for Student Success!
As a college instructor for over fifteen years, I’ve learned the importance of starting off the semester with a framework for student success. Although you may find it hard to schedule it in, taking time for this type of discussion in the early weeks is so valuable and will lead to better student outcomes, more engagement, and higher student retention.
These are the “Top 4” strategies for student success we’ve been discussing in the classroom:
1. Growth Mindset: Intelligence is not “fixed.” You are not programmed at a certain level of “smart” and that’s that. Your brain is like a muscle, and with more use, and practice, you can grow your dendrites. (See also neuroplasticity.) You can improve in a subject area. For example, it isn’t that you “just aren’t good at writing, never have been,” but that you have not yet learned the right combination of skills and techniques for that assignment. Once you have these skills, (in writing or another subject) you will see steady improvement.
2. Personal Survey: Find out how you feel about learning. (See #1 above regarding how self-limited beliefs can shape outcome.) What were your previous experiences like with this subject matter in school, higher education, or in the K-12 school system? Think about your prior knowledge and experience (schema) on the subject. Find a connection, with your courses, & the college. If you’re not already excited for the semester, find some way (student clubs, sports, etc.) to get excited. The brain on positive is 31% more productive than on negative, stressed, or even neutral!
3. Goal Setting: establish “SMART” goals. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. For best results, write or type out your goals and address each of the SMART areas. When you think about and set goals early in the semester, it leads to you taking the small steps to achieve those goals. For example, it’s fantastic to say, “Well my goal is an A in this class.” You have a positive attitude and are setting high expectations for yourself. But, what specific action steps will you take that will lead you to obtaining that grade? How many hours a week will you study? On what days? Where?
4. “The Basics.” Read the syllabus. Go to (every) class. Visit your instructor early and often when you have questions. We welcome, expect, and want you to come to office hours! We don’t bite! I promise! And we’re even kinda funny, in an endearingly nerdy sorta way! Again, I promise! 🙂
If you are a student, let us know in the comments which of these strategies you find most helpful, or most difficult, to put into action. If you’re an instructor, let us know if you spend time during the early weeks of the semester working on these metacognitive strategies, and/or which others you might add to the list.
For more on all of these topics, (including the research that backs it up), check out our blog archives, or leave a comment with any questions. We like–no–LOVE questions here at College Ready Coach! Now go out there and light some fires!
Happy Learning~~Lisa (aka, The Happy Teacher!)
Happy First Day!
For all my educator friends starting today–from the Kindergarten classroom to the college classroom: Happy First Day! You inspire!
Questions are King of the Classroom
Questions are the sign of a healthy classroom. Encourage students to ask all sorts of questions, especially open-ended questions that require process, experimentation, and research. Let them see that the instructor doesn’t “own” all the knowledge or have all the answers. You will be creating a classroom culture of inquiry & critical thinking.