Wednesday, December 28, 2016

One Word 2017: Resounding Joy


It is always good to make time to press pause and to think back over the course of my social media adventure, specifically on Twitter and this can be done when by thinking about my #oneword. Have you made a #oneword before?

It is always good to reflect on those from the past.

jarrett-johnston.com/
#BeBrave 2014
#NorthStar 2015
#WhyYES 2016

Designing a New Year's resolution is really hard and sticking to it is even harder, but thinking about the one word that you will use to guide you through the next year might be easier. At least you are able to visualize it and reflect on it better throughout the year.


Welcoming 2017 means a new word and my word is #resoundingjoy.

mckenzienewsservice.com/
I have for the past four years taken two words, added a hashtag and made them one. Why stop now?

I selected #resoundingjoy because I want to make sure that joy is on my repeat button, that it is my default attitude. I wanted to make sure that joy was my strong word because it is so different than being happy which is fickle and based on emotions. Joy is not. Happiness wavers but joy does not. Joy is a Fruit of the Spirit. Happiness is not.

I can still #bebrave
seek my #northstar
continue with saying #whyyes
and do so by pressing repeat with #resoundingjoy.


Here is to whatever brings you joy! May it resound in your 2017 as well.


(Google Definitions)



(Google Definitions)






Discover joy in your EVERYDAY, in your simple things and share it as you go!











Friday, November 18, 2016

I am sure you watch the news or see the news on your Facebook feed that it is filled with horrible actions done by people toward others. Instead of being humanKIND, some people are just humanMEAN. 

I believe that right now is the time as Angela Davis stated, "I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I am changing the things I cannot accept." I was thinking about that for a bit this week, especially as the unkindness towards others has become more and more documented. Even at my former junior high, there was an incident of a student ripping off another student's hijab. 

Could we all just walk two moons in someone else's moccasins?

What if we decided that we would be more intentional on making a difference as an individual, or as a family? What if being humanKIND started with you, because it does.

Maybe it means putting up a sign like this in your lawn that comes from Germantown Mennonite Church where my former classmate, Amy Yoder McGloughlin is the senior pastor.



Maybe it means as a family, finding new cultural places to visit and learn from. 

Maybe it means making a point to go to truly ethnic restaurants where the staff speaks other languages and the menu has other languages on it. 

Maybe it means that as a family, plan an ethnic menu at home after researching it and finding the products to make it with and it might even mean a trip to a local or not-so-local ethnic market.

Maybe it means listening to music in other languages as we drive along.

Maybe it means keeping nasty comments away from the ears of children and instead teaching them to see people with their hearts.

Maybe it means going to a church that is more diverse than where we are. 


My friend Kory posted this on her FB wall and I loved it!
Maybe it means looking up and saying hello to people who are different than us, smile and not turn away.

Maybe it means that we should stop saying we are going to build a wall and instead, extend our table to break bread with people who don't look like us, talk other languages that are different than ours, and even have other faith backgrounds. 

Whatever it takes friends is what we are supposed to do to extend friendship, love and compassion. That is being humanKIND.

Be that kind human! 










On Being HumanKIND

I am sure you watch the news or see the news on your Facebook feed that it is filled with horrible actions done by people toward others. Instead of being humanKIND, some people are just humanMEAN. 

I believe that right now is the time as Angela Davis stated, "I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I am changing the things I cannot accept." I was thinking about that for a bit this week, especially as the unkindness towards others has become more and more documented. Even at my former junior high, there was an incident of a student ripping off another student's hijab. 

Could we all just walk two moons in someone else's moccasins?

What if we decided that we would be more intentional on making a difference as an individual, or as a family? What if being humanKIND started with you, because it does.

Maybe it means putting up a sign like this in your lawn that comes from Germantown Mennonite Church where my former classmate, Amy Yoder McGloughlin is the senior pastor.



Maybe it means as a family, finding new cultural places to visit and learn from. 

Maybe it means making a point to go to truly ethnic restaurants where the staff speaks other languages and the menu has other languages on it. 

Maybe it means that as a family, plan an ethnic menu at home after researching it and finding the products to make it with and it might even mean a trip to a local or not-so-local ethnic market.

Maybe it means listening to music in other languages as we drive along.

Maybe it means keeping nasty comments away from the ears of children and instead teaching them to see people with their hearts.

Maybe it means going to a church that is more diverse than where we are. 


My friend Kory posted this on her FB wall and I loved it!
Maybe it means looking up and saying hello to people who are different than us, smile and not turn away.

Maybe it means that we should stop saying we are going to build a wall and instead, extend our table to break bread with people who don't look like us, talk other languages that are different than ours, and even have other faith backgrounds. 

Whatever it takes friends is what we are supposed to do to extend friendship, love and compassion. That is being humanKIND.

Be that kind human! 











Wednesday, November 9, 2016

On the Day After, Be Nice

I don't know how you started off your classroom or your day, or what you did to set up the class for a successful day of learning today, the day after, but when I woke up I was thinking about you with grace and love to get through the day.

Maybe you are like me. I can't explain to my students what this election meant to me, my tongue is raw from biting it.  With the election finally over and knowing what we know and moving forward, it was vital today for myself and educators like me to let healing begin in the classroom as well, without talking about the results as much and wrestling with that thought is how went to bed. I tried to figure out how to make what would be the day after, be a day that is great for all, including myself. This is where mattering comes in to play.

Mattering matters in moments like these, in moments of perplexity, in moments when events leave us startled and in moments when we try to rise up and meet the new sun with vigor. Mattering matters because it pulls us together, it shifts focus off of ourselves and puts it on others.

Mattering matters because it gives us hope and it gives us perspective and it is the reason we are here. There are many reasons why I crossed paths with  Angela Maiers  and today is a good reason why.


I decided today would be National Be Nice Day.  I wrote it on the board in big letters and had the students do a Recap about it which I wish I could post, but I cannot because of facial recognition. They talked about ways that today they would go out of their way to be kind and try to do three random acts of kindness for others.

The world needs us to have these characteristics: compassion, respect, honesty, responsibility and self discipline, and for the love...be nice and to teach these things in school because they matter more to than a grade on a report card. I was overjoyed to see the doodles of two girls as we talked a bit this morning and about mattering, as we listened to Tim McGraw sing Humble and Kind and as we watched the Recaps of our classmates.


I know that I had to start this way, today...the day after. This is our future. I am with them, the future of the world,  everyday as I have been since 1994 and I need them to be nice, stay humble and be kind.






Thursday, October 20, 2016

Don't Run With Scissors

Have you ever been in a spot where you were sure as gold that you were supposed to take that leap of faith, so you jumped.


activerain
Not so recently, I jumped. I fell. I fell flat!

I don't think it was because I made the wrong choice. I just wasn't prepared enough in the transition in a variety of areas, mostly in my heart. I thought I was, but I cried everyday I came home for the first month.

I could easily make this post all about me, but it is not going to be. I am going to a conference with a theme: Stronger Together, so this is about seven educators who rallied around me at a point where I wanted to run with scissors and let me cry, vent and spoke life back into me and I put the scissors down.

This is a thank you.

dictionary.com
Thank you Mark French and Bret Domstrand. Thank you for being excellent leaders in my life and showing me for several years now what strength looks like, yet also showing your willingness to be vunerable so that you can speak to my heart. I heard you. Some people take this teaching thing one year at a time. You reminded me to take it one day at a time and to celebrate the small successes. You reminded me that students matter. Epic feelings of failure are real, but not the truth. You shared from your own experience and your own moments of questioning and my perspective changed. Thank you Lee Graves for several discussions and taking my pulse and offering hope.

I wanted to thank my sisterhood of friends who listened to me and set my feet higher on a ground and gave me a safe place to fall apart at the same time. Thank you Fran, Krisanne, Jenny and Sandy. Thank you for being pillars of educators in my life and for speaking not just encouragement into my life, but truth as well.

tumber.com
Maybe you feel like me right now, you are wondering if you maybe jumped wrong and instead of flying, broke your ankle. Maybe you did, it will all be okay! Maybe you didn't and it will all be okay. It all gets better. Maybe you have been in this business for a long time like me and have a bit of a pride issue. Let me encourage you to take a deep breath, to seek out authentic council and to open your heart to their wisdom. Be vulnerable. Have hope.  The tide comes and the tide goes. Roll with the tide and give yourself grace.

We are stronger together. I love you.





Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Filled Up & Ready to Pour


1000fountains.com
It is easy to be a teacher on the go even throughout the summer. However, we spend nine months pouring ourselves out for the students and their families until there is nothing left of us. Oh sure, we get the little breaks here and there for a sanity boost so that we don't totally fall apart, but that is not enough. It is certainly not enough for me. My favorite part of the summer was shutting down, turning off and tuning in to nature, my family and the world I am part of that has nothing to do with teaching for the month of July. I took all of July off with the exception of #edcampSurfIA hosted by my friend Steve Kwikkel, which ended up to be a road trip with my besties and my daughter.


buildfaith.org
In the end, it doesn't matter what you do to relax, to debrief, to unplug, to undo. It matters that you do just that because if you do not, you won't have enough in you to pour out on your new students and families when the year starts!

Wishing you all a fantastic school year! Be the change!

Kimberly



Sunday, August 14, 2016

Everybody WINS In Math (Guided Math)

Image result for guided math
guided-math.com
Guided Math allows for differentiation using a flexible framework to meet the needs of all learners. It is NOT whole group instruction, nor is it an emphasis on pencil and paper learning so as to become a worksheet wonder. Instead, by providing more opportunities for 1:1 engagement and observation, I can use guided math then to observe so much more closely what the standards the students are excelling in and which they need more help in.  I find that my background now with Guided Reading and my four years so far of Guided Math have helped me understand the content so much more deeper so that I can reach right to where the student struggles. I really enjoy this process.


Everybody WINS In Math is a vigorous schedule. I use the word vigor over rigor on purpose (see below).



www.parishepiscopal.org




Rigor:

1. a (1) : harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment : severity (2) : the quality of being unyielding or inflexible : strictness (3) : severity of life : austerity b : an act or instance of strictness, severity, or cruelty
2. : a tremor caused by a chill
3. : a condition that makes life difficult, challenging, or uncomfortable; especially : extremity of cold
4. : strict precision : exactness
5. a obsolete : rigidity, stiffness b : rigidness or torpor of organs or tissue that prevents response to stimuli

Does that sound like fun? NO. That is a horrible horrible way to learn.

Vigor:

1 : active bodily or mental strength or force
2 : active healthy well-balanced growth especially of plants
3 : intensity of action or effect
4 : effective legal status



Here is the debut of how I will use Guided Math in the 5th and 6th grades starting this school year 2016-2017.  Here is my previous blog post a few years ago about BUILD math, which still is very effective if you have a longer class period.


I wish you all a great school year!

Kimberly Hurd Horst





Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Along Came TED

The Beginnings:

It all started with TED and TED started in 1984 as a conference on Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED made its way into my life with various talks I watched. Then three years ago, I had a great idea. Why not incorporate them into my classroom? So, I did and we watched a few. Then I thought why not have the students write and practice and speak their own? So, for the past two years, that is what they have done.

Here they are below.


2014-2015 The theme was Everything Is Awesome & What To Do When It Is Not. I had a group of fifth graders.

The TED Days






2015-2016 The theme was The Change Begins With Me In Grade Three. I had a group of third graders.



Reflection:
On the first go around,  I incorporated all that I had learned from models in the field of Geniushour such as Joy Kirr  and Angela Maiers and I had picked a theme from the beginning of the year that was based off of the LEGO Movie song, Everything Is Awesome. It is a catchy song, but it is not true. Sometimes, things are NOT awesome and life will get you down and the lessons are learned in those moments.

The trick to implementation is starting on the first day of school. You know, you get in the end magnificent results if you do all the hard work in the beginning. Though you can't hear the TED Talks from this 2014-2015, ones that stand out to me are: Divorce and Me, Sports Leadership, Attitude Is Everything, Obstacles Can Make You Awesome and All Things Are Possible, School Is Hard--But I Am Amazing.  I recall many tears shed by myself. I was trying to Instagram it all, and I was pulled into each speech with my heart.

By the time 2015-2016 started, I had prepared all summer for what would be the foundation of the school year. I wraped everything around a theme. I settled on The Change Begins With Me In Grade Three and I looked for connections to that all year long. What went well was the incorporation of valuable lessons written out by Angela Maiers in Liberating Genius. If you don't know where to start, start there. It helped to read Paul Solarz' book over the summer as well to continue to create a student owned classroom.


What is magnificent is the growth in the students throughout the year that I can document by something that is not a test. It is a growth of character. See, by the time each year that we got to the TED Talk time, the students had already done two other Geniushour speeches and had been in the process of practicing how to give a public speech.  I had gone in both years from students who could barely stand in front of classmates, to students who couldn't wait to share their passion and hearts with the world.

That is why I teach.


The How

Preparing students for TED talk speeches is NOT easy.

Geniushour:

There are many ways that people are doing Geniushour and not a single one of them is the right way, instead, you have to figure out what is the right fit for you and for your students for that year only. There are great resources to help you and that you might want to consider reading. Then set it up from the beginning of the school year, and give many opportunities for public speaking, invite the general public and families and celebrate wildly.


WEBSITES:

http://www.geniushour.com/

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/genius-hour-essentials-personalized-education-nichole-carter

http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=829279

https://geniushour.wikispaces.com/

https://engagetheirminds.com/genius-hour-resources/



BOOKS:

Genius Hour Guidebook: Fostering Passion, Wonder and Inquiry In the Classroom

Pure Genius

Teach Like A Pirate

Learn Like A Pirate

Passion Driven Classroom

Public Speaking Skills:


It was from my friend Sandy Otto that I learned first about PVLEGS and let me tell you, that works! She introduced me to Eric Palmer's speaking and listening which helped me to frame better the lessons behind Geniushour which are public speaking empowerment so that your story, your heart can be heard!







WEBSITES:
http://pvlegs.com/

http://www.davestuartjr.com/pvlegs-public-speaking-acronym/

https://pvlegs.wordpress.com/


BOOKS:

Well Spoken

Teaching the Core Skills of Listening and Speaking



The Importantance of Mattering:


As Angela Maiers says, Mattering Is the Agenda! It all comes down to that and I believe it to the core. So much beauty comes out of the moments when we take the time to listen to each other's hearts.

Websites:

www.choose2matter.org

Angela Maiers TED Talk


Books:

Liberating Genius

Classroom Habitudes


The Why

It is so simple to find the why for me. It is simply centered around genius and passion. We are all born with gifts and talents that the process of "doing school" had not in the past cared much about in its educational high academic quest, but matters of the heart do indeed matter.  I want to be caught up, I want to be found in the middle of helping students on their path of self discovery and along the way, grow into strong leaders with excellent speaking skills! That my friends, is 21st Century learning to me.

As I transition to a new post next year at a new school, I hope to bring this core element of learning with me and continue on with our TED Talks, because it helps the students put their DOT on the world in a tremendous way and to realize that they can color with all the crayons in the box! !


Along Came Steve

My friend Steve drove up from Iowa just for the kiddlets in my room for one day of presentations. Here is his reflection. 


TED Talks For Kids: Also it is a good thing to study PVLEGS while watching these people give their TED talk.








Thomas Suarez: A 12-year-old app developer



My Philosophy For A Happy Life



Overcoming Hopelessness



Caine's Arcade



How Do You Define Yourself



My Invention That Made Peace With Lions


Inside the Mind of A Maker

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Activate Learning Through Making Connections

hersquire.com
We all are a walking file drawer of  information and we gathered that information and will keep gathering it as we continue in this life. It is that information, those experiences that we as teachers need to tap into.

The picture to your left is a representation of the students in your classroom and the background information that they have stored away before they even got to you. Information that has gotten them this far in life. Some of it is good, perhaps great in fact, and other information which is painful to leveled degrees.

If you open up the file drawer and peer into the lives of each of student, you will get a glimpse of what they know already and what they bring to your classroom to add to the discussion. Doing this creates a link between what they already know and what you are trying to teach. Their drawer might not be as organized as this picture. Depending on experiences that mostly deal with family history, it could be quite messy and they will come to us unsorted. Some will come sorted, and look pretty on the outside but really quite messy on the inside.
syzygyofme.blogspot.com

However, here's the secret..if you don't care what is in their file drawer, they will not attach themselves to what you are teaching them. That is why this step is a vital, do not miss part of teaching pedagogy. If you want to reach the mind of the child, you need to go through the heart of the child.

It is our job as we teach these students to build on this information. It is an acquired skill, it takes time and often we want to rush through this step, but it is this step that connects old learning with new learning.

Asking questions about what they already know about the people you are studying, or the place, perhaps the experience or whatsoever content shows to them that they matter to you, you have validated them. It is important to create a safe and respectful learning community so that the students will be able to share, especially when the background knowledge is painful.


The most straightforward way to enhance students' academic background knowledge is to provide academically enriching experiences, particularly for students whose home environments do not do so naturally. I refer to such efforts as “direct approaches” to enhancing academic background knowledge.

Here is the blessing to you as a teacher, you will be able to look for gaps in understanding. You can make a fly by assessment of their background knowledge to look for even misunderstandings and you get a peek inside the minds of the students which is a sacred honor.


The following are some ways to build background knowledge, but the most important part is to be creative and vary your approach. Doing the same thing over and over will bore them as much as you! 


  • Prediction questions
  • Using poll everywhere
  • Post signs around the classroom about key facts, dates, people and have them write down what they know and then you have collected data you can go back and review
  • Browse through the text book
  • Use mentor texts 
  • Take them on a virtual field trip 
  • Show pictures and discuss 
  • Video clips
  • Discuss past experiences or studies
  • Hot potato one word association
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Post on Linoit.me and have them add to the post
  • Create a Google Doc and have them add to the doc
  • KWL chart. When I have done this , I put the K W L in different parts of the room. I actually move the W (what we want to learn) to the L (What we have learned) as we go about learning! 
  • Look for links to native languages (Greek, Latin)
  • Draw or build by using pencils, markers, crayons, Legos or play dough
  • Look for links to cultural experiences
  • Look for links to all kinds of food and festivities/celebrations
  • Play music
  • Word walls
  • Graphic organizers
The point is to make connections. Connect what you are wanting the students to learn to the student themselves, to other text, to other media and to the world around them.

syzygyofme.blogspot.com

The students do not come to us as a blank slate or as an empty file drawer. They come filled with so much background information, often to the point of overflowing. Discovering this and allowing the time it takes to look at each student and really SEE them, will be the key that unlocks their heart and mind. 


Monday, May 9, 2016

Everyone Needs A Fishing Buddy

memegenerator.co 
I love to fish. I don't mind going alone, I also love going with people. I use a pole, but my favorite teacher (Jesus) and the one I learned the best from used a net. Not only did he use a net, he recommended that everyone had a buddy.  Who's your buddy? Who is your accountability partner? Who's got your back? Developing an accountability group and a buddy system with your coworkers (a small select group) will make your work day much more enjoyable and much more effective. 

I have been able to co-teach throughout my career as well as do great deal of MAG (multi-age grouping). I am thankful for the chance to use those opportunities as an accountability partnership, as a buddy in my profession. Accountability is very important.   In order to work closely I have to be very candid and flexible.  


I want to make sure that I am understanding the great commission as it relates to my profession. In scripture Jesus said, "Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all." Mark 16:15.  In my profession as a public school teacher I can't just GO and well, preach.  Here is what I can do and here are the areas in which I need accountability.


  • I can work hard to develop school-parent and student partnerships. 
  • I can create a culture with the students (and co-workers) where all are accepted just as they are with their unique talents and passions that they bring to the table.
  • I can believe that hope and acceptance of each student will lead to great learning and believe that our school is tailored fit just for them. 


Why just three? Well, because as the going gets tough (and it will), when the soft gentle winds that start out the school year turn into hurricanes throughout the year, I want to have these three things be what I go back to. When you have a fishing buddy, you will find encouragement when you can't tell the head from the tail. A fishing buddy will keep you sharp. 

It fits in with my mission statement just fine as well. 
alaska.usgs.gov

If I wanted to just focus in on one student, I could use a fishing pole, but we believe that each of these students belong to the collective group of "US" and therefore, I need a net. I can't hold the big net by myself. That is why I need a buddy. We will work together and "catch fish." 

So make sure you find a fishing buddy! You can't do it alone and you were not meant to. 








Tuesday, April 19, 2016

12 Principles of Collaboration

One of the most important elements of any 21st Century learner including teachers and those in almost any job is this: Collaboration! I like this graphic. It shows the 12 principles, foundations or pillars of great collaboration. It seems easy to do. It truthfully is not. 

One of the big things that gets in the way of collaboration other than the TIME factor, is that of EGO. A long time ago I learned from Joyce Meyer that EGO stood for Easing God Out. It is true, when our egos get in front of us, we have pushed out God, but I would also like to suggest the same is true for the work place. 

When our egos get in front of us here, we push away co workers. That is not how it is supposed to be. It is not best practices for a work place an in the teaching field, it is not best practices when keeping in mind that my decision making must be kept in the light of what is best for the students. As opposed of course, to the opposite, what is best for me.   

Collaboration is not about me. Collaboration is others centered, others focused. I don't celebrate what I did, I celebrate what we did. It is ever evolving, continuously fluid and profoundly life changing. It makes the world a better place to be. So, support one another in their God given gifts and talents and collaborate!

Monday, April 18, 2016

#LS125 Geniushour Ted Talks



We started off the year with Liberating Genius the first week of school, we even made heart maps. We continued to work with Geniushour all year long in many wonderful ways. 



To prepare for this, we designed our heart maps again, from that wrote a list of topics we could talk about that fuse our passion with our compassion. 






We wrote on note cards, then from our note cards, wrote in our Geniushour notebook and then typed it out. The next step is to share it with the world. 

This is my favorite part of the year. Last year I was completely a mess over the students in my room who were brave and shared with us so many great life lessons from fifth grade theme in my classroom: How To Be Awesome (When Everything Is Not). This years theme from the beginning of the year was: The Change Begins With Me In Grade Three and all that we did centered around that theme. 


We will use the PVLEGS method to practice our Ted Talk. It really helped out with our second trimester Geniushour presentation on innovation! It is a great guide!




The students won't remember the tests they took or the spelling words that they studied and the ins and outs of school, but they I hope will leave third grade with an emotional attachment to their learning journey and feeling closer to the world and ready to give back, even in their youth.