CCTI Spring Edition

Spring 2022

CCTI Teachers Spring Forward

Welcome to CCTI's Third Annual Spring Newsletter

This is the season of renewal, hope, and rejuvenation. As we welcome spring, we celebrate the growth of our CCTI teachers as true champions of learning, both for themselves and for their learners.

In this spring season, we celebrate the persistence and growth of our CCTI teachers and their ability to adapt and meet the moment in this remarkable year of change. Through coursework and coaching sessions, CCTI teachers worked as a collaborative team to grow more confident and competent with each new day.

As you read the CCTI Spring 2022 Newsletter, you will find common ground on the sights and sounds of spring in the classroom, reminders of restoring and growing relationships with learners, and tips for spring cleaning strategies in your learning environment, and even for your mind.

We hope you enjoy reading!

The CCTI Team

7 Signs That It's Spring in Your Classroom


Spring is an interesting season in the life of a teacher. The semester starts out rough—January and February don’t make it easy to feel motivated. Then before you know it, it’s the end of the year! Excitement, restlessness, celebration, fatigue, and nostalgia combine in this explosion of crazy known as late April, May, and June.

Here are the signs that you’ve found yourself in the middle of this madness.

1. You are definitely pushing the boundaries with the snooze button.

Daylight savings never seems better...

2. Simple tasks are way too difficult.

Emails, attendance, bathroom breaks....

3. The days are long but the weeks are fast!

This is maybe the weirdest part about spring, and I’ve found that it’s true even with my non-teacher friends. I constantly find myself shocked that the week is already halfway or completely over. “IT’S THURSDAY?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” at least three times this year.

4. "Why not?" becomes your response to just about everything.

Nothing seems impossible “Can I write my essay while sitting under my desk?”

Why not?

“Can I use a pen that writes in barely legible neon purple ink to complete this worksheet?”
Why not?

A third donut at the department meeting?

WHY NOT?!

5. You are more distracted than usual.

Spring tends to distract everyone.

6.You find yourself giving a lot of pep talks to students.

They're also feeling the many emotions of Spring, and you find yourself giving a lot of "you've got this" advice on a regular basis.

7. You find yourself giving a lot of pep talks to yourself.

Sometimes these are out loud...

modified from weareteachers.com/7-signs-you-know-its-spring-in-your-classroom/

Connecting with Students Through Strategic Sharing

Carefully selecting personal anecdotes to share can help high school teachers in their efforts to build strong relationships with students.

By Rachel Jorgensen

March 9, 2022

Connecting with students in a meaningful way has never been more important in education. Teachers do well when they keep in mind that every exchange with a student is a relationship-building opportunity, and sharing their true selves can assist with creating a connection. Selecting personal anecdotes to share with students is a fragile dance between opening up and maintaining appropriate boundaries. Finding ways to weave in personal stories may offer an effective instructional tool and a means through which teachers can build trust with students. Continue reading here.

5 Motivating Strategies to Help New Teachers Keep Going

5 Motivating Practices to Help New Teachers Keep Going

New teachers can use these ideas to sustain themselves when the demands of the job seem overwhelming.

By Dana Haring, Tom Kelner

March 17, 2022

As two veteran middle school teachers with over 50 years of combined experience, we want to share ways to sustain yourself, stay strong, and develop your craft. Here are our five Rs for fostering resiliency.

1. REACH OUT

Teachers love teaching, and that usually includes teaching each other. Find a teacher or teachers who inspire you and ask them questions about lessons, classroom management—anything that you could use some help with during your school day. They’ve been in your shoes, and they want to help with resources, problem-solving, or even just support.

There are also ways to connect beyond your school or district. Consider joining a professional organization of teachers; many have state or local affiliates where you can connect. There are professional organizations for every teaching area, such as those at listed at TeachersFirst. Alternatively, you can ask your colleagues if they can recommend any organizations. Online teacher groups through social media can provide a lifeline of support or at least a laugh.

2. REUSE YOUR IDEAS

Create a system to organize your materials online so that they are easy to find again next week, next month, and next year.

Continue Reading here

Spring Cleaning and Classroom Practices

It's that time of year when you look around your room and think about what to keep, what works, and what needs to go. Maybe it's time to give some older strategies another look...

Perspective | Dusting off seasoned strategies to support our students

EdNC Link

by: Jennifer Redfearn, March 9, 2022

The year was 2011 and I was just starting my career as a high school science teacher. I was excited, nervous, apprehensive, and totally naive. I remember walking into my classroom and proceeding to teach the way I was taught, or at least attempting to do so. How could my students not thoroughly enjoy a 30-minute-long PowerPoint presentation and a step-by-step laboratory exercise? This worked for me when I was going through school, so it should surely work for them.

Needless to say, my efforts were not appreciated by my pupils. The semester took a turn for the worst in terms of classroom management and student comprehension. My young learners made it clear that the way I learned when I was their age was not going to work for them. I remember crying to my in-house science coach about the situation, and she pointed me in the direction of active learning theory. Interestingly enough, even though I was fresh out of a teacher preparation program, the idea of active learning never dawned on me as I planned and wrote my lessons.

My coach informed me that it was my job to create situations in my classroom where students were doing the heavy lifting. This meant that students needed multiple opportunities to think about, make meaning of, and apply the content. My students also needed chances to work with each other to better understand what we were learning in class. After extensive YouTube and Google searching, I felt that I was ready to incorporate some active learning practices into my teaching. This would be the beginning of a seven-year journey focused on building my “teacher toolkit” to include a variety of strategies to engage students.

Continue reading here

This Year, Try Spring Cleaning Your Brain

Five ways to soothe a mind overstimulated by anxiety, stress and streams of information.

By Christina Caron Published March 14, 2022; Updated March 16, 2022

Excerpted from this article: Read the full article here:

Perhaps, experts say, the arrival of spring can serve as a natural point to take stock of our mental well-being and reconnect with the things that bring us purpose and joy, offering our brains a respite when possible.
Practice mindfulness

“Being a human, particularly right now, is stressful,” said Nkechi Njaka, a meditation guide in San Francisco with a background in neuroscience. “And when we think of how degenerative stress is, and how harmful to the body, we need something that can help mitigate it.”

Mindfulness meditation, a practice that helps you remember to return to the present when you become distracted, has been shown to reduce the stress of daily life.

When people notice that their mind is racing or they start to become anxious, they are typically thinking about something in the past or in the future.

To refocus on the here and now, you can start by noticing the sensations in the body, Ms. Njaka said. “Can we feel the ground below us? The heat of the sun?” It is normal for the mind to wander. If this happens, gently return your awareness to your breathing and come back to the present.

If you are compassionate with yourself and approach the practice with curiosity, openness and forgiveness, you will be more likely to try it again, she added.

Take advantage of the transitional moments of the day to practice mindfulness — when you wake up, right before or after a meal or when you change your physical location, for example — so that you can start to form a routine.

Try the Bullet Journal method

Studies have found that jotting down thoughts in a journal can improve well-being.

One method that has gained popularity in recent years is a practice created by the digital designer Ryder Carroll and outlined in his best-selling book, “The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future.”

The Bullet Journal is an organizational system but also an exercise in mindfulness — one that requires you to continually re-evaluate how you are investing your time and energy and then decide whether those things are worth it.

Otherwise, Mr. Carroll said, “you can be very productive working on the wrong things.”

Mr. Carroll, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, initially started journaling to help him stay focused and succeed in his career, but then he began exploring how he felt about the tasks he was accomplishing. “Did it give me energy? Did it take it away?” he asked himself.

Continue reading here

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