Blowing The Lid Off The “Awards” Can Of Worms One More Time!

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while now, hoping that as I continue to think about this topic, I can figure out a solution on my own. I can’t seem to though, so I’m wondering if my P.L.N. (Professional Learning Network) might have some insights to share. I’m about to blow the lid off this can of worms one more time: awards

I’ve had some mixed feelings on awards over the years. As much as I value and discuss the benefits of intrinsic motivation, being nominated for and winning an award of my own, makes me feel hypocritical for only speaking negatively about them. Did an award change me? I don’t think that it did. I work as hard now as I did back then, and I still have questions of …

  • are we doing enough?
  • how can we meet the needs of a child that’s not showing as much growth?
  • how can we make our program even better?
  • what do others think when they see our classroom? Do their opinions matter? Why? How can we use their insights to help us determine our next steps?

My teaching partner, Paula, and I reflect regularly, and we’re constantly tweaking our program to better meet the needs of kids. Award or not, we’ll still never see our program as perfect, and that’s okay. It’s this reflection that helps us continually improve.

Considering my thinking on awards then, I’ve been challenged to think differently about them over these past couple of years, as our school does Monthly Award Ceremonies. I’ll admit that I have some reservations about these awards, but there are two things that help me get through these assemblies.

  1. Every child wins an award before the end of the year. All students are recognized for their strengths, growth, and contributions to their class and school communities.
  2. The awards are personalized. We don’t have specific areas of focus. Each teacher can decide on the various reasons for children to win awards: from social growth to academic growth. Last year, there was even a group award, for children that demonstrated specific achievement as a larger group. 

As demonstrated in my Instagram post above, I was definitely feeling better about these awards. Then one night after school, I had a lovely conversation with a parent. This mom came to talk to me because her child came home upset. Her child thought that everyone in the class won “one award,” but she noticed that one child won two already. This child wondered if Mrs. Crockett and I noticed all of the things that she was doing and her growth over the year. This broke my heart!

Sometimes a few children receive a second award because the Phys-Ed or Music teacher hands one out to them. This doesn’t happen often, but it did in this case. Yes, this child was very deserving of this second award, but my conversation with this mom made me think again about awards. We recognize this mom’s daughter in class all the time.

  • Her work often inspires other children.
  • We often look at her work during meeting times.
  • We always provide positive feedback on what she shares.

I know that she feels this acknowledgement at the time, but why is an award more powerful than this? The truth is that we have many children that could receive awards every single month. Their growth blows us away. These children are committed to learning, improving, and valuing the process. Paula and I try to instil in our students how proud we are of them every single day. At the time, it seems to make a difference, but then I hear this award story, and I wonder. 

  • If everyone is getting an award, does this eventually negate the value of the awards?
  • Are students viewing awards as more powerful than genuine compliments and positive feedback? Does this matter?
  • At such a young age, is the stress of receiving or not receiving an award (we’ve been witness to both) too much for our students? What impact might this have on their sense of self?
  • If we don’t use award systems in our classroom, why are we doing so through these Monthly Award Ceremonies? What makes them different?

I really don’t know the answers to any of these questions and nor do I know what to do. Paula and I continue to discuss this topic, and we’d welcome thoughts from others. While I told this mom to invite her daughter to talk to us if she wanted, so that we could solve the problem together, she never did. I know that the mom spoke to her daughter, and this was likely enough, but thinking of how this child feels, makes me feel equally as upset. If this is what awards do to our youngest learners, what about our oldest ones? I know that these assemblies happen with the best of intentions, and I know how proud parents are of their children each month. But experiences like this one make me wonder again about awards, and what might be best for kids. Maybe the answer is not the same here for every grade or every child. What do you think, and what do you do?


Here’s To One Amazing Village!

Friday morning, I started off my day as I always do by reading Doug Peterson‘s This Week In Ontario Edublogs post. One post that really caught my eye was a recent one by Jen Aston. In this post, Jen discusses her experiences with a daycare, and the impact that some positive daycare experiences have had on all three of her children. The description of these play-based, Reggio-inspired daycare centres really appealed to me, as I saw a lot of parallels to our own classroom program.  I really tried to capture this in the comment that I left on Jen’s post.

Jen’s post stayed with me all day yesterday, and had me thinking even more this morning. I think it’s this belief that “it takes a village to raise a child,” which has resulted in the classroom success that we’ve seen this year. 

This year, our Board has started to focus on reading skills in Kindergarten and Grade 1. One of the Board’s goals is to have “all children reading by the end of Grade 1.” Now before concerns are expressed around what’s developmentally appropriate for Kindergarten children, and how this goal aligns with the Kindergarten Program Document, let me say that the goals for Kindergarten reflect the expectations under the Developing Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours Frame in our document. To support this new goal, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board hired Reading Specialists, who go into Kindergarten and Grade 1 classrooms to support reading development. (Please note that this is a very simplified definition of their jobs, so I apologize in advance if I have not accurately defined the roles of Reading Specialists.) I’d like to think that my teaching partner, Paula, and I made reading one of our priorities before this year, but with this new Board goal and the support of a Reading Specialist, I think that the two of us have thought even more about how we’re developing reading skills, programming for students, and supporting those children that are struggling. Maybe the extra time thinking and talking about reading made a difference for kids, as without a doubt, our students this year have met with even more reading success than in any other year of my teaching career: with ALL of our students on target for meeting or exceeding grade level reading benchmarksWhy the change? I think it’s the village that made the difference.

  • First there is the targeted intervention. Our Kindergarten Program Document regularly refers to this question: why this learning for this child at this time? Any professional development that we received from our Reading Specialist, curriculum consultants, Kindergarten consultants, and even Speech and Language Pathologists, emphasized the importance of this targeted intervention. They really got us thinking about where are our students at, what do they need next, and how can we support them in getting to this next step? In alignment with the pedagogy embedded in the Kindergarten Program Document, Paula and I made the decision not to withdraw students when we support them, but to embed these targeted mini-lessons within the context of play. This takes a lot of communication between the two of us and careful observation of students to figure out exactly when and how to provide this small group instruction, but we do make it happen … every single day
  • Next, there is the access to a group of professionals, who all come with a different knowledge base and various ideas about how to support students. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones. I teach at a fantastic school in a middle-to-high class area, with supportive parents, and incredible children … but not all of our students started the year at benchmark. In fact, when we looked at our SK students back in September, we were concerned about almost 50% of them. Not all of the children recognized letters of the alphabet or knew their letter-sounds. Some students were still at the lower rungs of the Phonological Awareness Continuum and many of our children were very reluctant readers. Only 1 of our 11 SK students was already reading. So we definitely had some work to do, and we needed to pay attention to many different perspectives. Our Speech and Language Pathologist gave us a great understanding of phonological awareness. We were able to determine at what level of instruction each child was at, and then focus on the areas of need. We embedded many phonological awareness games into our transitional times to help develop some skills with the whole class, while also working with individual and small groups of students during play to meet other needs. Paula, as a Registered Early Childhood Educator (R.E.C.E.), also has an amazing understanding of child development. She knew where the kids were at, what areas we might need to work on first, and how to tell when children are truly ready for reading. We also have a Curriculum Consultant and Early Years Team, who we have consulted at different points during the year. Their program knowledge helped us figure out how we could support struggling readers while still holding true to the Program Document and the play-based learning that we believe in and do. We also have a couple of different Kindergarten classrooms at our school, and seeing what other people are doing, talking about various options, and exploring new possibilities, especially for our targeted students, make a difference. Finally, thanks to an incredible Professional Learning Network through Twitter and Instagram, we don’t just have to rely on the amazing people in our Board. We’ve got so many people out there, in other Boards and from around the world, who are willing to support us with ideas, resources, and great questions, all of which help us improve our program.

  • There is also our Reading Specialist Teacher. Sandy Batenburg has been great! I had the pleasure of working with Sandy, when she was a Learning Resource Teacher at Dr. Davey School, and I think that our previous connection definitely helped as we built a new relationship this year. Sandy and I do not always see eye-to-eye, but we have a lot of respect for each other, and are always willing to engage in good professional dialogue. Sandy has a lot of experience working with children with a variety of needs, and she had many ideas about how to support our targeted students. While we initially arranged an intervention model where she worked with about six of our students just outside of our room, we didn’t like the idea of pulling children from play and making reading (and writing) as separate from other learning. This is something that we don’t do, so why were we doing it with her? Recently, after talking with Sandy, we’ve made some changes, and now Sandy supports students within the classroom twice a week. It’s great that she can connect with more children, that Paula, Sandy, and I can plan together, and that we can all learn from each other. The kids benefit, and we benefit!
  • Parents are another very important part of this equation! Parents spend even more time with their children than we do, and for some children, the connection with their mom or dad will allow them to take risks at home, which they will not take in the classroom. This home/school connection is so important to us! We use our classroom blog as a way to share what children are learning in the classroom, but also as a way to share possible extension activities for home. This year, we added a Family Contributions link to our Class Blog, where we post home experiences that parents share with us. Sometimes, with the permission of parents, we also tweet or Instagram home learning examples. It’s great to see parents capturing the process of learning, as well as the final product!
  • We’ve moved even further away from reading levels. Now, we don’t even send home levelled readers. Students helped us remove the levels from the readersYes, at times we read texts that might be levelled, and we will choose different books depending on our group of readers. That said, students have stopped talking about what level they’re at. They understand the value in reading everything, as highlighted by this discussion outside yesterday morningWe’re thankful for Fountas and Pinnell, who reinforced the value in not telling children their reading levels, and a Speech and Language Pathologist, who emphasized the importance of making take-home reading in Kindergarten about vocabulary development and comprehension, not just decoding.
  • Last, but not least, we have a wonderfully supportive administrator, who watches our day through our class blog, engages regularly with children, and notices the student growth as part of our program. Our principal, John, continues to contemplate what learning looks like in Kindergarten. As many people who know me, realize, I am not one to stay quiet. I will ask questions. I will push back. And John and I have had many great conversations around play and reading instruction. His wonders make me think. They often cause me to go back and learn more, and they almost always result in greater dialogue with my teaching partner, Paula. But it is this back-and-forth dialogue, continual reflection, and changes to our program, which ultimately benefit kids. John is definitely an important part of our village, and I appreciate how he embraces a diversity in approaches, especially when he can see the potential learning opportunities for kids.

Learning doesn’t happen by accident, and it doesn’t happen alone. It really is about a series of approaches with the support of many different people who make a difference. Yes, I’m thrilled with the success of our students this year, but I’m just as thrilled with the connections we made to make this success possible. In the coming months, I want to reflect more on what can make next year even better. Before I forget to do so though, I really want to pay tribute to the village that made this year’s growth possible. Who’s in your village? What impact has this made on your kids? Thanks to our village for helping raise such amazing kids!


Let Them Believe It, And They Will Achieve It!

Yesterday, I had that aha moment that occurred in the most unlikely of places: music class. Since we have our music prep at the end of the day, I usually end up staying in the classroom, organizing materials for the next day, and uploading documentation during music. Often as I work, I enjoy watching and listening to the kids. Yesterday was no exception, but it was one of the conversations, which truly made my teacher heart proud.

Our music teacher, Mrs. Crocker, was introducing the class to a new song. To get them to think about the words, she said them aloud, and had the kids count how many words were in the song. There were a few different guesses. As Mrs. Crocker went back to repeat the words and had the children think again about the number of them in the song, one of our students piped up with, “I could just count them.” Then she looked over at the text for the song — which she saw next to Mrs. Crocker’s chair — and counted the words. What?! Mrs. Crocker had not even introduced the text yet, but this child found it on her own. How? When Mrs. Crocker asked her how she knew that these were the words for the song, she said, “Because I read them!” Then she went through and read the entire song on her own: pointing to the words as she did so. Mrs. Crocker was flabbergasted, and said to Mrs. Crockett and me, “She’s such a great reader! Is she the only one in the class that could read this?” No. Mrs. Crocker then invited up about eight more students to read the text. These were a combination of JK and SK students, who confidently approached this more challenging text. Some read it with ease. Others problem solved some challenging words and read the majority correctly. Every single child that went up there, did so with the belief that he/she is a reader, and showed us just how true this is. Many more children would have eagerly done the same. When I saw Mrs. Crocker in the staff room after music, she continued to speak to me about what “great readers” we have in our class.

This conversation and the experience in music really has me thinking. While I was very impressed with the actual reading — considering that only two of these students would have started the year being able to read a text as challenging as this one — I was even more impressed with the children’s attitude towards reading. Nobody suggested reading this song. In fact, the idea hadn’t even crossed Mrs. Crocker’s mind. But when the child saw printed words, she knew they had meaning, and she knew that she had the skills to figure out the puzzle. This is key! As we instruct and support new readers, I think that we sometimes forget about the value in instilling why reading matters. We have to show kids that they can use their decoding skills to access text anywhere: from the name on their yogurt drink to the song sitting beside the music teacher’s chair. Kids need to view themselves as readers. They need to believe that they can do it, for if they do, they will work their way through future reading challenges. It’s this willingness to try, plus the foundational skills, which allow for success.

I think about my many years of teaching reading though. How often did I forget to ensure that children know why reading matters? It seems simple, and yet, how easy is it to forget this lesson? In my 17 years of teaching, yesterday was the first day I ever saw a child LOOK to read an adult text, without somebody asking him/her to do so. She looks to read everything. And she’s not the only one. Today, I had a supply teacher in for me when I was at a meeting. This supply teacher’s been in our class before, but not for many months. She couldn’t believe the growth in our students, and commented on the willingness, confidence, and skills as readers and writers. This was a #ProudTeacherMoment for sure, but Paula and I are even more proud of our kids!

Talking with Paula at the end of the day today, I realized that it’s actually something that she does — even unbeknownst to her — that I think makes such a big difference for kids: she gives every child diverse opportunities to read. 

  • When she wants somebody to read something on the SMART Board, she picks a child.
  • When people have included text in their VIP presentations, she has children read it. 
  • When a child is wearing a shirt with a slogan or a hat with a logo, she gets students to read it.
  • When a child shows her a snack or lunch item with words on it, she has the child read the words.

Sometimes the children can read the words independently. Sometimes they need more support. But Paula always finds something that they can do on their own, and with her words of encouragement — and any degree of success — kids start to believe that they can “really read.”  

It’s taken me over half of my career to have an experience like I did yesterday, but now I hope for many more of these experiences. Yes, our kids often blow me away with their reading skills. Paula and I are thrilled with their growth in reading, and their attitude towards reading. We’re just as thrilled that our students could achieve this tremendous growth in a play-based learning environment. It really can happen! But I think this shift starts with helping children see why we read, what we read, and that we are all readers. Let them believe it, and they will achieve it! What do you think? How do you develop “reading attitude,” as well as “reading skills?” Both matter.


The Good And Bad Of Labels

Today is Autism Awareness Day. For years now, I’ve blogged on this day, and shared some of my own stories around autism. One of the stories that I’ve shared is about Andrea Haefele and her daughter Bella. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Andrea and her family, but I feel as though I know them based on what she shares online. Every year, on World Autism Day, Andrea guest posts on a friend’s blog about her story. Her posts are always different and they always make me think. Sometimes they bring me to tears, as this one from a couple of years ago, did.

This year, Andrea did something different. She started her own blog. Parents, educators, administrators … you NEED to read this blog. This is real. Andrea shares her life, her thoughts, her fears, her struggles, and her successes with us through these posts, and she’s only added a few posts so far. 

  • I am not a wife.
  • I am not a mom.
  • I do not have a child with special needs of my own.

But Andrea’s first post on labels still inspired me to blog. Here’s why.

I’ve often struggled with labels. In education, we use labels a lot. Normally to get additional support for students, a label is necessary.

  • Kids can’t be identified without a label.
  • Special class placements require a label.
  • It’s easier to argue for modifications with the use of a label.
  • Labels often help get E.A. (Educational Assistant) support … or at least more often than without labels.

I’ve had my own mixed experiences with labels. As I’ve blogged about before, when I was in Grade 2, I was identified with a non-verbal learning disability in the area of visual spatial skills. This “learning disabled” label could have changed a trajectory for me. The gap in my test results was wide enough that, 

  • my academics could have suffered.
  • I might not have made it into university.
  • I might never have gotten the marks for the Faculty of Education.
  • even if I made it to university, I might have struggled with the social interactions, organization, and time management required to live away from home and to pass my classes. 
  • I might never have become a teacher. 

I find it hard to even think about this now, but it’s true. Thankfully a label didn’t stop me, and in fact, I actually needed this label to make it through university and the Faculty of Education.

My initial identification of “learning disabled,” lasted me a while, and before I went to high school, I was tested again. The same label held. But between Grade 2 and Grade 13 (yes, I went to high school when we still had OAC 🙂 ), I learned a lot of strategies to meet with success. I also benefitted from more choice in the high school program. I didn’t have to take subjects such as visual arts, where I struggled year after year, because of both fine motor difficulties as well as visual spatial needs. Geography also started to look differently in high school, and while I’m still unable to read a map, I could use my memorization skills to meet with success on tests. When I was in elementary school, most teachers would recognize that I had a learning disability because I struggled with the content, I was never organized (picture pages of paper flying out of binders in every which way and often going through the middle of the desk and right out onto the floor), and my marks suffered. I barely had a 65% average when I went from Grade 8 to Grade 9. In high school though, my strong reading, writing, and oral language skills, my ability to self-select more courses, and the move from paper onto a computer in most subject areas, had me going from a 65% average to a 92% average. Teachers still knew that I was “learning disabled” because I told them, but the label was less obvious. Most peers thought I was “lucky” to get extra time on tests, and I had to fight to continue to get this accommodation, as my marks were high. I quickly learned the mistaken belief — whether articulated or not — that learning disabled students are not smart kids. I was determined to change this thinking around my label.

Maybe, in some way, this is why I was so excited when I found out that I was one of the recipients of a Presidential Scholarship to Nipissing University. My label didn’t have to define me. But then, I found out that I needed this label. I hadn’t had an updated Psych Assessment in years, and without a more recent one, I couldn’t receive the support in university that I received in high school. Yes, I was successful, but this support played a big part in that. Due to my current marks though, I wasn’t a candidate for an updated Psych Assessment. What could I do? I tried to self-advocate. I wrote letters explaining why I needed this assessment, and why my marks were not necessarily indicative of the lack of a learning disability. In the end though, my parents paid for a private assessment, and that label went with me to university. This label continued to give me the supports that I needed, largely the use of a computer for tests and exams, and additional time for both. It also gave me the diagrams for some of my math exams, as I could not visualize what I needed to draw, but I could perform the calculations. But this label also gave me something else …

It gave me a connection to Student Services and to other students that needed support, just like me. I met some of my new friends through here. I also ended up connecting with some of their friends, and their roommates, which allowed me to further expand my social interactions at university. And through Student Services, I also connected with some Faculty Members that were there to support me, or offer advice, when I needed it. At a time with lots of new — from living away from home for the first time to meeting new friends and taking new courses — there was comfort in knowing that somebody was there if required. Without a label, this support wouldn’t have existed. 

Now, numerous years past university, I don’t think about this label much anymore. But would it “able” me, as Andrea wondered in her blog postMaybe, at times, it would.

  • Maybe somebody would give me those verbal instructions on how to find a room in a school instead of a copy of a map that I can’t read.
  • Maybe I could have my own special parking spot in the winter months, since the ability to spatially figure out where the spot is without the use of lines, is something that I continually struggle to visualize.
  • Maybe people would understand why I stand back during Ice Breakers in Staff Meetings and PA Days, since the very thought of these unstructured social interactions is overwhelming. 
  • Maybe I would always have options to submit data, receive articles, and fill out forms online, as organizing paper continues to be a stressor for me. 
  • Maybe people would know why I never want to share sketches that we need to complete during PD sessions, as the laughter which I know that they’ll produce, will bother me despite being unintentional. 

But I wonder though, do we see this label first? Maybe it’s all a matter of when this label is added. People know so much about me now — and have formed so many opinions of what I say and do — that maybe adding this label now won’t change things. What if the label, though, was the first thing that you knew about me? And is this what happens the most when it comes to autism? While we can learn a lot from labels, we cannot let any label be our only vision of an individual. We’re all more than our many labels. And on Autism Awareness Day — and every day after that — I hope that we can get to know the people behind these labels. For one of my favourite parts of Andrea’s post is the four bullet points near the top of it: through these points she tells us about her daughter, going much deeper than any label will ever do. I think it’s this that matters. What about you?


The Day I Wish That I Had Super Powers!

Teachers aren’t superheroes. Some days, it might seem as though we are, or we may wish that we had super powers. I’d love a super power that made tidying up happen with the snap of a finger and noise levels to quickly readjust with just the clap of a hand 🙂 , but I haven’t quite made either of these things happen yet. On most days, I’m good with not having any super powers. I can adjust to the varying volumes and problems that might happen during the day, and can find different places to sit, engage, and listen in on conversations with kids. Thursday wasn’t one of those days.

Even the make-up of the day wasn’t ideal. It was the last day of school before a four-day weekend. While we haven’t been discussing Easter in the classroom, and kids have just made a few off-hand comments about it, many of them have been all about Easter in the Before Care Program. They’ve been making Easter crafts, hiding Easter eggs, and decorating Easter bunnies. The excitement is definitely palpable in the Before Care Program, and this excitement tends to spill over into the classroom program. Just to make Easter a little more exciting, our school had Wacky Hair Day on Thursday. We were collecting donations for Interval House, and coupled this with an exciting day at school. While not everyone in our class participated, a little extra crazy definitely brought up the volume and changed the feel of the room. 

I’d like to say that the dysregulation ended here, but it didn’t. When I got to school on Thursday morning, I received an email that I wasn’t expecting, and ended up with a problem that I had to solve. While everything worked out well, solving the problem took the better part of my before school time, where I would usually get things organized in the classroom. This meant that I was rushing to get everything finished before the bell rang, despite arriving at school with two-hours to spare. How does this happen?!

I was also very aware that this was my no prep, duty day, so I would be limited on extra time to get things done during the school day. I think this is when my headache started. The weather outside wasn’t helping my head, but the stress definitely made it worse. I’m also starting to come down with that cough and cold that everybody seems to have right now, and without a doubt, everything compounded and hit me all at once. I’m not sure that I realized the impact of this at the time, but I did a few hours later.

Our outdoor learning time actually went very well. My heart was exploding with the examples of empathy that Paula and I saw out in the forest. Our kids are truly remarkable! We also got to witness some incredible new friendships, and it was great to see the joy in this play. I think that I was almost convinced that today was turning around. Maybe we should have just stayed outside … 🙂 

While it wasn’t quite raining outside, it was definitely cold and damp, and after almost 1 1/2 hours outside, I was certainly feeling the chill. (I might not have made the best clothing choices for the weather.) I made it inside in just enough time to head back outside for duty. This might have been too much. I couldn’t stop shaking I was so cold, and this is when the coughing started in earnest. I was definitely getting sick! Between the Wacky Hair Day and Easter, duty time was even louder than usual, and I was eager to get back to our classroom, which often feels quieter and calmer. Today it didn’t though.

Play was just starting, and it was Pizza Day, which means that most children wanted to eat right away. Our open eating table — with seats for six to eat throughout the day — usually helps quiet the room a bit and spread children out in different places around the room. Today though, there was a HUGE number of kids eagerly waiting to eat, and some more eating at the back table. This means that the play takes even longer to settle. 

Sometimes I can help things out by sitting down at a space on the opposite side of the room, or beginning to play in an area that has fewer people, and quietly drawing more people my way. I wasn’t feeling it today though. I was having my own difficulties settling. Noise dysregulates me on most days, but when I’m not feeling well, it does so even more. I know this, but I was having problems addressing it. I tried sitting down at the creative table, with the hope that some sensory play might calm me (and the kids) for a bit, and it did, but maybe not for long enough. I should have gotten into the building space, where there seemed to be the most noise at the time, but I didn’t have it in me to quiet it. This is when I started to wander — sweeping the room — which might seem like a good idea in theory, but isn’t in practice. When I wander, kids wander. But I couldn’t settle, so neither could they. Once again, I’m reminder of Stuart Shanker‘s words about the impact that an adult has on a child’s ability to self-regulate. 

This was an all-day struggle. I continued to feel yucky throughout the day, and my headache that went away in the morning, came back in the afternoon. This didn’t help. It was then time to get ready for home. We share a coat room with the Kindergarten class next door to us. Usually they get ready first and head outside, and then we go second. This gives both of us more room in this confined space. Due to the weather though, we were both getting ready at the same time. This meant more kids and more noise …

I finally thought of my teaching partner, Paula, and what she does to make dressing time a calmer experience: she sings. So I sang. Probably nobody would recognize the songs that I made up. I probably couldn’t even reproduce them again. But every time I felt triggered, I sang some more. 

  • I sang to look for splash pants.
  • I sang to put on coats.
  • I sang to collect lunch boxes.
  • I even sang to go sit down.

I will never win a Grammy Award for my singing, but it was definitely singing that kept me regulated. Maybe I should have done some more singing throughout the day. 

I would usually tell you that all of our days are “great,” and they really almost all are! And if you look at our story of Thursday on our class blog, there is a lot to celebrate about the day. But Thursday didn’t feel quite as wonderful to me, and maybe my own dysregulation is to blame. I definitely didn’t help turn things around. I’m sorry! I’m human. On Thursday, I definitely didn’t have the super powers I may have needed to make it through. But I did have a wonderful teaching partner that came back from her lunch with a lovely, calming peach tea for me, and ensured that I got out of the classroom for a good half-hour for my lunch. Both were what I needed. And while the noise still triggered me when I returned, at least I resisted the urge to wander. Instead, I chose to stand back and observe. I’m glad that I could see the good around the room.

Tuesday is another day. I’m using some great restorative ideas from here (maybe not the dancing 🙂 ) to take care of me this weekend, so that Tuesday starts and ends on a much better note.

No matter how much we may know about Self-Reg, as children AND as adults, we’re all human. Mistakes happen. Life takes hold. Susan Hopkins often reminds us to be kind to ourselves. Thursday was not a total loss, but it wasn’t my best. Next week will be better. We can always change a trajectory. How do you help start fresh?