Monthly Archives: November 2014

Tell someone you know how grateful you are for the work they do #reflectiveteacher

I’m climbing back onto the blogging wagon today. I’ve been neglecting the Attitude of Gratitude Challenge, but we’ll just pick things up for today’s prompt.
It’s my first year as a high school teacher in a new school district. It’s been great. Students often ask me if I miss the school where I was before. I usually say that I miss my former students and my work BFFs.

I especially miss two teachers. I wish we could still be in the teaching trenches together.
So I’m going to tell two people how grateful I am for them.
Dean Goss and Debbie Duncan

Dean thank you for being an awesome and supportive teammate.
Dean was not only my colleague but also my child’s teacher. I knew he was an awesome teacher BEFORE he had my own child, Lily, in class . He challenged her and cares about her. Lily moved schools as well and on a very regular basis she’ll STILL say how much she misses him. She misses how he teaches and how he cared and interacted with her on a daily basis.
Amazing teachers impact kids. You are one of those.

Debbie Duncan
Hands down is amazing special education teacher. Thank you for being a great resource for me and just being so stinking good at what you do!

I knew I was working with some great educators then and I appreciate them even more now.

I miss you guys. Thank you for being great teammates and all around good people. I appreciate you both!


5 Things I am grateful to have learned during my teaching career #reflectiveteacher

I am beyond grateful to have learned about LoTi and the HEAT framework.

I love it so much it is taking all five spots for today’s reflective post.
Seriously, it’s pretty amazing.
I would marry it if I could.
Hands down…my favorite teacher-y thing.
It’s helped shaped me into the teacher I am today.

I love you HEAT Rubric.



Taking time for myself #reflectiveteacher

What do you do to take time out for yourself?

I honestly used to try to do too much. It wasn’t that I was afraid to say no, but I just wanted to help or make a difference for my school as a teacher and a district patron.
Time is a very precious commodity and through trail and error I feel like I’m developing better ways to budget my time.

There are a few chunks of everyday that I take some “me time.”
I have a nice commute, so after I drop the kids off at school I have a solid 15 minutes of travel time to my school. I actually enjoy the drive. The scenery is pretty swell and I sing along to the songs on the radio with reckless abandon.
Once I arrive, I’m pretty fortunate and have a first hour planning period. Before I even attempt any work I, thanks to my glorious tea kettle, have a nice cup of tea.

That’s what I’m doing right now. Listening to Chopin, having a hot cup of tea, and writing for a bit.

It’s a great way to start my workday.
Most weekdays get pretty busy, but I tend to close out everyday with a bubble bath.
There’s no shame. I take my morning and evening time for me. I haven’t always, but I do now and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon.

An item for which I am grateful #reflectiveteacher


YOU THE REAL MVP. Thank you for keeping me going. I couldn’t do it without you.

Your biggest fan,

(Yes, I just wrote a thank you letter to my tea kettle…it is just that awesome.)

The most important “lesson” I hope to teach my students #reflectiveteacher

Day 11 Attitude of Gratitude Blog Challenge

What is the most important “lesson” I hope to teach my students?
Unlike many of the previous prompts, my answer to this question came to mind immediately and clearly.
Hard work!
I hope to teach my students that work ethic and grit count for a whole lot more than academic intelligence in the real world.

While I appreciate bright students, what I really love is a hard worker.

(This post took me hours to complete! I typed here and there in between ball games, working on science fair projects, and loads of laundry BUT I persevered. Now I shall express my gratitude for my pillow and warm bed.)

Being grateful for humor #reflectiveteacher

I feel that my years in a middle school classroom have blessed me with plenty of fodder for this reflective post on humor.
I’ve learned to be very careful and precise with my diction.
Behind the surface of every mundane conversation is the possibility for innuendo and hilarity WHEN you work with young adults.

I wish I could think of a moment when humor and epic learning collided with grand results, but generally humorous situations tend to pop up in unscripted and informal situations.

Once upon a time I had a class of around 30 6th grade boys.
They were a hoot, and I had them in the morning after their athletic hour.
One ordinary day we were discussing breakfast foods. I’m not entirely sure how we arrived on that topic, but food is a popular subject in schools.
I don’t know why or how biscuits specifically came up, BUT I said this simple statement, “I like honey on my biscuits.” As soon as the words left my lips one young man was laughing.
“Mrs. Barnes! You like to put honey on your WHAT!?!?”
I couldn’t help but laugh with them as I asserted, “I was talking about LITERAL biscuits not what they were thinking!” Rest assured, I made a mental note to myself that morning to add biscuits to the list of words to use with caution.
Biscuits became a running inside joke with that crazy group of kids. Their final home basketball game of their 8th grade year I brought them some homemade biscuits and you guessed it HONEY for breakfast.

Ideas for building an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE in the classroom or school campus #reflectiveteacher


Avoid negativity and pettiness
Have manners.
Say please and thank you …and mean it.
Don’t offer false praise.
Be genuine and honest.
Apologize for and own your mistakes.
Don’t avoid or ignore difficult situations.
Treat all individuals like human beings and with basic civility.

A memorable moment that reminded me of why I teach #reflectiveteacher

I teach because I enjoy working with and mentoring young adults and I’ve always loved learning. As a lay here bed, yep I’m still in bed I am a lazy lady on the weekends, and reflect on previous years, students, and classes and ask myself what is my most powerful memory that reminds me of why I teach…?
I see a mosaic of faces. The faces of my students. There are moments of laughter, the proverbial epiphany or light bulb moments, a few moments of tears, ball games, conversations at dances or in the stands, or quiet moments of thoughtful reading.

I hate to cheat the prompt, but I can’t boil it down to just one memory.
I am grateful to have had and still have pretty amazing students.


What new learning has inspired you in your career? #reflectiveteacher

As an alternatively certified teacher I feel fortunate to have experienced some wonderful learning opportunities in the first few years of my career. I’m going list style on this post, because my mind is in NaNoWriMo mode. I am fully embracing exuberant imperfection.
My writing doesn’t have to be perfect it just needs to happen- so here we go…
1. K20 Center- my first year teaching our school was a recipient of a grant that equipped each classroom with a fancy, interactive input device (SMART boards, dual boards, and Mobis)
The K20 Center folks made monthly visits to the campus which focused on authentic learning experiences.
I’m still grateful to this date that they highlighted instructional/learning issues in their support and not just technology “how tos.”

2. Twitter and Blogs
I like reading what other teachers and educational leaders are up to…Twitter and blogs allow me to do that.

3. Colleagues that have challenged me. I treasure the relationships I have with like-minded, innovative, teachers. I love sharing ideas, working together, and helping each other out, BUT I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot from the co-workers I like the least.
I consider myself to be a change agent. I am also outspoken. Challenging coworkers and bosses have inspired me to become an advocate for my students’ best interests and innovative and effective instructional practices.
It isn’t always fun when your professional life becomes muddied with school place politics and pettiness, BUT in hindsight the difficult times have provided valuable lessons.

4. Conferences- ISTE, ILI and others

The list could go on, but it’s Friday and I forgot I had lunch duty!

My lunch duty pal- Nicole. She’s the best!

Share a quote that inspires you and explain why #reflectiveteacher


It’s easy to get bogged down in the monotony of the busy schedule of a teacher, coach, and mom of three kids. Every once in a while life really smacks you silly and gives you a wake up call.
June 27th of 2013 was one of those moments. June 27th an amazing young man passed away. Trinton was a former student. His passing was devastating to his family and friends. I was just one of many who could count Trinton as a friend and student.
He had an amazing energy and sense of humor. I will always remember him for that.
Perhaps, I had been fortunate until that day. I had never experienced the pain of losing someone far too early.
Trinton wasn’t being careless. It wasn’t drugs or alcohol. It was a car crash as he was going to a summer basketball practice. It could happen to any of us. We have no posted expiration date.

That’s why I love this quote from Louis C.K. We shouldn’t take our time here on earth for granted.

“The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.'”

The fact that we are alive is amazing. Make your days count, don’t waste them away being bored.