Godzilla Gazette, 22

Week of February 1, 2016

Contents

  • From Grace
  • The Reflective Practitioner
  • Weekly Team Planning Link
  • Weekly Events
  • For Your Information

From Grace

Aloha, everyone! Looking ahead to February and the rest of the spring semester, there is quite a lot going on. From field trips to job shadowing to middle of year assessments and more, there's no shortage of things to plan for, along with the critically important work of daily teaching. With all of that, I want each of us to take just a minute or two and simply stop, close our eyes, and breathe.


Ironically, during an incredibly busy, noisy, stressful period last week, two of my regular blog readings focused on being quiet and productive, one right after another. Another sign, I thought, and wanted to pass on these tidbits of wisdom and a helpful tool. This week's Reflective Practitioner remembers a peaceful moment and the need to carve out times for quiet reflection during our busy, sometimes frantic days. It made me think and I am consciously working on dong a better job of deep listening when talking with others rather than shallow listening where I'm also thinking about how I'm going to respond or the myriad things still on my to do list that I'm itching to get done. Finding time for peaceful thought can help all of us with our work and our relationships with each other.


I encourage each of us to give downtime and reflection a chance. If you need help quieting your mind, this week's Website to Explore may help. I've used it almost daily since I discovered it last week. The Noisli site allows you to customize ambient noise for a relaxing and/or productive environment. My favorite was combining rain showers with a crackling fireplace. Lovely. Have fun exploring ways to bring calm and peace to your classroom or other places.


Have a happy 22nd week of teaching and learning! Celebrate the 100th day of school! be quiet and reflective, be collaborative and supportive, and, above all, remember to have fun.

The Reflective Pracitioner

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January 24, 2016


So about a month ago during our two week holiday break, I found myself floating down a river on a tube with nothing around me but the sights and sounds of the Amazon jungle, and the peacefulness and beauty of it all hit me like a fist to the jaw. I spent about an hour or so just listening to the sounds of the world around me, and looking closely at the colours that were exploding out from the river banks. I guess it was around half way through my ride when I was struck by how long it had been since I had actually slowed down enough to tune out, and to just be quiet. No whatsapp pings, no emails to check, no social media sites luring me to update or comment on, no meetings or conversations to be had, and no decisions to make…my mind just kind of went blank and I sat there, drifting along the river, letting the beauty of the moment wash over me.


Thinking back and reflecting on that experience has made me realize how important it is to take some time each week, or each day for that matter, to just be quiet. Our lives are so busy, and they speed us by so quickly that it’s easy to get caught up in it all and never come up for air…all of a sudden the days are over and the weeks are gone and life becomes all about getting stuff done, and preparing for what’s coming next, and if we’re not careful life can get so…automatic.


It’s easy to equate the idea of “being busy” with success, and to trick ourselves into thinking that slowing down and switching off for awhile is just being lazy. I don’t know how or when it happened but I sometimes find myself feeling guilty if I sit down for an hour and take a break…it sounds crazy I know but being busy or feeling rushed can easily become the norm and the routine, and if we don’t make a conscious effort to be still once in awhile, we never get a chance to reflect and to recharge and to dream and to just…be.


This distracted and fast paced approach to life can easily bleed into how we interact with each other as well, and our interactions can become these quick, drive-by encounters that never go below the surface. Think about the conversations that you have with your colleagues, or your friends, or your family…are you really listening to what’s being said? I don’t know how many times I see people in the middle of a conversation texting, or checking their email or updating Facebook or scrolling through their twitter feed. We’re so used to being “connected” that we can easily become disconnected to what’s really important…our relationships with each other. I found myself the other day sending an email to a colleague who was less than a 30 second walk from where I was standing, and that’s just not good enough.


I have made a commitment to myself recently to find some time throughout the day to slow down and to be quiet, and I want to challenge you to do the same. I am also going to make a better effort to use face to face conversation as my first priority when communicating with someone, instead of the easier and faster way that has started to drive my days like texting or emailing or using WhatsApp…finally, and most importantly I would suggest, I am going to focus on really engaging in my conversations with people and truly listening to what is being said. I will listen with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply!


I loved that slow, meandering ride down the river and that experience snapped something back into place for me. I’m off now to sit down outside in the sun and to do nothing for awhile…and that’s okay. I’ll listen to the sound of the world buzzing around me, and I’ll soak up all the joy while watching my kids playing in the backyard. Life is a beautiful thing if we slow down enough to enjoy it. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.


Quote of the Week…

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

– Stephen R. Covey



Related TED Talks –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saXfavo1OQo

http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_5_ways_to_listen_better

http://www.ted.com/talks/evelyn_glennie_shows_how_to_listen

http://www.ted.com/talks/stanley_mcchrystal

http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_how_to_speak_so_that_people_want_to_listen

https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts?language=en



Interesting Articles –

http://upliftconnect.com/sacred-power-listening/

https://managementisajourney.com/stephen-covey-on-the-power-of-listening-for-understanding/

http://techland.time.com/2013/03/01/turn-off-tune-out-the-national-day-of-unplugging-is-upon-us/

http://elitedaily.com/life/the-power-of-unplugging-why-you-need-to-live-your-life-outside-of-technology/

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/unplug-please/

Weekly Team Planning Template Link

Weekly Events - Counselor Appreciation Week!


Monday, February 1, 2016 - B Day


  • Kinder-2nd Grade Math Training - 8:00-11:00 am - Library - Becky, Nicole, Paula, Alma, Sharon, Suzie, Monica, Angela, Sicily
  • ARD - 8:00 am - Learning Lab 1 - Janie, Katherine, Robin, Grace
  • TELPAS CTC Training - 8:00 am-3:30 pm - Clifton Center - Elise, Grace
  • CST Meeting - 2:00 pm - Office - Elise, Robin, Katherine, Kara
  • AISD Board Meeting Pledges of Allegiance - 6:00 pm - CAC - 6th Grade Reps, Grace, Elise

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - C Day


  • UT Study Meeting - 9:00 am - Office - Grace
  • PTA Meeting - 10:00 am - Office - Grace
  • Interview - 3:30 pm - Office - Janie, Lauren, Grace


Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - A Day - 100th Day of School!


  • Kinder Parade - 1:00 pm - Hallways - Becky, Nicole, Paula
  • Author Visit - 8:15 am - Cafeteria - PreK-2nd Grades, Jud
  • UE 2.0 Meeting - 8:00 am-12:00 pm - Palmer Events Center - Grace
  • LPAC Decision Making Process - 12:45-4:00 pm - Baker Center - Grace
  • Science Fair Work Session - 3:00-4:00 pm - Rm. 208 - Stefanie, Diana McG.


Thursday, February 4, 1016 - B Day


  • ARD - 8:00 am - Learning Lab 1 - Janie, Claudia, Grace
  • Austin High VT Meeting - 9:00 am - Austin High - Grace
  • ARD - 12:15 pm - Office - Margaret, Diana McG, Grace
  • CST Meeting - 2:00 pm - Office - Kirstie, Janie, Elise, Grace, Kara
  • Staff Meeting - 3:15 pm - Library - TELPAS Training


Friday, February 5, 2016 - C Day - Wear Red Day!


  • School-wide Assembly - 7:45 am - Gym - All
  • Counselor Meeting - 11:00 am - Baker - Robin

For Your Information

Reminders:


  • If you need something, ask.
  • If you haven't already, make sure to take the Educator's Ethics Course through AISD's HCP.
  • Make sure to utilize reading/writing workshop and small group instruction during core.
  • Remember to take attendance daily on TEAMS.
  • Arrive and pick up your class from special areas on time - respect each other's time.
  • Ensure 504, IEP, ELL, and Gifted Accommodations are being followed
  • Actively supervise your students - Spread out at recess to monitor each area.
  • Check our calendar for important events
  • Try something new and have fun!

Kudos: Do you know of something good? Share it with Grace to be included here or write it in the comments below!


  • To Janie, Margaret, and Kristen with the support of Brett, Matt, and Michelle, for a strong 3rd quarter report from the office of Special Education!
  • To Lauren for giving up her Saturday for the kick-off of our Campus Innovation Coach training!
  • To Stefanie, Diana McG., Diana McM., Sharon, Alma, and Claudia for an amazing amount of work on Sunday getting ready for STEAM day!
  • To Robin, for all of her work to keep us focused on SEL, help individual students and families, and support our school's counseling needs!
  • Claudia for working through challenging social situations with a group of students and always staying solution focused!
  • To Paula for all the time and energy to help one of our newer students connect to school!

Upcoming Events:


  • Parent Maker Movement! - Week of February 8th
  • 100th Birthday Celebration Planning Meeting - February 10th
  • African American Cultural Celebration Assembly - February 12th
  • Principal's Coffee - February 12th
  • MOY TPRI/DRA/CPMS/ORF Window Closes - February 12th
  • Parent/Teacher Conference Day - February 15th
  • Safety Audit - February 16th
  • MOY II - Writing - February 17th
  • Reverse Evacuation Drill - February 18th
  • STEAM Day! - February 19th
  • MOY II Math - 6th Grade - February 23rd
  • MOY II Reading - 6th Grade - February 24th
  • Fire Drill - February 25th
  • CAC - February 25th
  • EOY Circle PM Window Opens - PreK - February 26th

Website to Explore:


http://www.noisli.com/ - This is a white noise/background noise generator. From the Cult of Pedogogy: Noisli could obviously be used to boost your own productivity and concentration at work and at home, but it could also help students avoid distraction while they work independently on computers, laptops, or handheld devices, each student choosing his or her own sound combination. Or you could play something for the whole class during silent reading time to help buffer small, distracting noises. Happy exploring!