*Co-Written with my girl, Tara Martin @TaraMartinEDU
The #GratitudeSnaps Challenge is as easy as 1-2-3.
Focus each day on one thing for which you are grateful. It could be a thing, a person, a feeling; it’s personal to you.
Educators, students, community members...anyone who would like to participate is more than welcome. The more positivity we can flood the world with, the better.
Create a GratitudeSnap by connecting it to something positive in your life. Add pics, text, anything you choose.
Take a picture with your phone and share why this image makes you grateful. You can use any picture app to create your #GratitudeSnaps. (We will be using SnapChat.)
Click here for a quick 3-minute video to show you the basics of Snapchat. (Just create #GratitudeSnaps instead of #BookSnaps.)
Click this link for many apps used to make #BookSnaps, which can easily convert to #GratitudeSnaps.
Let’s begin our 23-days of #GratitudeSnaps on Nov 1st, 2017.
It will last until Thanksgiving, November, 23rd. You're welcome to keep it going; there is certainly no "time frame" on being grateful.
The world has plenty of negativity, let’s spread a grateful attitude!
We have so much of which to be thankful.
Journal of Snaps
If you’d like to follow Tisha’s 30-day #GratitudeSnaps Challenge, click the padlet below.
I've been feeling quite pensive these past few rainy days of Fall. To be honest, I've felt a little blue. Maybe it's the cloudy days, maybe it's that my daughter has flown the nest to college hours away. I'm not sure. However, I find in these moments that discouragement and doubt can creep in and threaten to zap my joy if I let it. When this happens, I always turn to gratitude and those people in my life that have helped shape who I am becoming and given me the courage to fly. These are the people who have believed in me at points in my journey when I didn't believe in myself. They help me find my voice, validate my "crazy" as a unique gift, and give me courage to share it with the world.
Though there are many more that have shaped me in my journey, these people have made a significant impact on my life.
My mom, Susan Mills, raised me to believe I was special. If you could imagine a female version of Mr. Rogers, she's it. In fact, Mr. Rogers was a major part of my childhood. I would get sung to sleep by "It's you I like...." and other songs from the show on a regular basis. She valued the importance of play allowing me to explore and experience the wonder of childhood. She has always accepted me just the way I am, loving me unconditionally through all my ugly moments. She has a rare beauty that resonates from deep within her.
My dad, John Norton, is a legend in the field of track and cross country. He helped coach Olympic greats and developed a world renowned track and cross country program that attracts athletes from around the world. He has always had incredible passion and zeal for his work. He was relentless in pursuing excellence and making a difference in the lives of athletes. As I've grown older, I recognize his determination and passion for his work in myself and I'm grateful to have had a role model that demonstrated how to live out your life's calling.
My husband, Russ, is an incredibly loving and humble man who has always supported me in all my endeavors. As an amazing and passionate ceramics educator, he gets the wild world of education and it's demands. He doesn't always get my level of crazy, but whole heartedly supports me in all that I do. He has always been my greatest ally and friend; lifting me up in my darkest moments encouraging me to keep going and chasing my dreams. He accepts me for who I am, flaws and all.
My daughter, Ella, has a fierce determination and drive that inspires me daily. She is passionate about people and culture; eager to make a difference in this world in a powerful way. Her adventurous and lively spirit is refreshing and helps remind me to never stop chasing my dreams.
My son, Tommy, has a personality that is larger than life. His sweet, sensitive spirit and smile light up any room. His wit is beyond his years and can have a whole room laughing hysterically in seconds flat. In addition, he has an uncanny sense of rhythm that can get anybody dancing. He reminds me to laugh, play, and dance often.
MY PERSONAL LEARNING FAMILY
There are so many that make up this family of educators that I can't possibly list them all. These are the people that get my crazy passion for education and my relentless pursuit to bring the very best teaching and learning to the classroom every day. They are the ones that push me to kick fears to the curb, crush obstacles, and take big risks to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Without this encouragement and support, I don't know that I would have found the courage to send my first tweet, write that first blog post, submit a proposal for that first conference, moderate a Twitter chat, or write a book proposal.
Tears are filling my eyes as I think of all the big leaps of courage I've taken because of the special people in my life. To all who have replied to my tweets, commented on my blogs, joined in on my Twitter chats, encouraged me in my writing, supported and encouraged me, believed in me...
from the bottom of my heart....THANK YOU!
You've given me the courage to fly.
This week I was sharing with someone in my PLN about how I gamify my culinary classes via Voxer. As I was describing my classes, I shared an aspect of my game that I recently realized wasn't working well and explained how I was going to change it. After I shared, he said something that really resonated, " I appreciate that you shared about your pitfalls. Hearing how things don't work is just as important as hearing how everything is wildly successful." This statement really resonated with me. So often as educators we are eager to share all that is going on that's awesome, but rarely do we share the things that didn't work. The problem with this is that when we glimpse into classrooms on social media and see all the awesome, we sometimes forget there is a lot that happens in those classrooms that is less than stellar. Every teacher has bad days. In the midst of epic successes, there are also epic fails. We all have days where we are discouraged, frustrated, and less than inspired. We talk about the importance of taking risks and the value of failure, but how often do we really share about it.
Observing things that aren't going right in a colleague or PLN's classroom, is sometimes more encouraging to me than seeing things that are. It makes me feel normal, realizing that the people I follow and admire are just like me.....human. It's like going over to someone's house for dinner and finding their house less than perfect. If they have a pile of laundry on the couch or a stack of mail on the counter, it makes me relax and realize that not only is it okay to not having everything perfectly in place, but that they feel comfortable enough with me to be real. I am much more likely to invite that person over for dinner knowing that it would be okay if I had a pile of laundry on the couch too. As innovative educators, we are all taking leaps and pushing boundaries sometimes with huge success, sometimes with failure. None the less, we keep pushing forward and breaking down barriers to bring the very best teaching and learning to the classroom.
My most recent failure happened in Culinary 3 during our Food Truck Launch. We invited staff in as "investors" to listen to food truck teams launch their concepts and taste their signature dishes. As investors came in the door, I handed them a clipboard with evaluation rubrics and $2000 of play money. Students had stations set up outside with their signature dishes, Ipads holding their promotional video trailers or presentations, and a container to hold the money that investors would be be allocating to the teams that they felt were most deserving. Investors went around listening to each team's pitches and tasting their delicious dishes as they evaluated on the rubrics leaving valuable feedback. Being our first challenge, students were late getting their dishes out which made the end of the period rushed. After the last team presented, staff hurriedly allocated their $2000 to the teams they felt most deserving. The money that each team earned would be the seed money that launched our Food Trucks on a race across the United States to learn about regional cuisine.
So here lies the problem. As I was counting the money and reading the feedback from the judges, I realized that the money allocations didn't necessarily match up to the point totals on the rubric. The rankings for all but the top two teams were different. I had to make a judgement call. Would I stick with the original plan of using the currency to determine the team's ranking, or the tallied scores on the rubrics instead. 5 minutes before the next class began I was still unsure of how to handle the situation. I then realized it was silly to keep stressing about this situation, I needed to involve the students in the problem solving process. As students came in, I explained the dilemma and opened up a discussion. Within just a few minutes it was clear what needed to be done. I would eliminate the currency and base the team's ranking on the rubric scores. I immediately felt good about the decision because the teams were all in agreement. Additionally, students appreciated the fact that I made the decision with them.
I loved the idea of allocating currency, but the reality was it didn't work. I had to let it go. It made me think about how often I hold on to things just because I really wanted the idea to work. Rarely do I share my struggle in my writing or with my amazing PLN who could help me problem solve. Additionally, I so often wrestle with how to fix failed ideas without asking the students to help me come up with solutions? Let's share our wins, but let's also share our fails. It may be just what someone needs to realize they are not alone.
Today was one of those days. For no particular reason, even with the sun shining on a beautiful Autumn day, I felt blue. Insecurity, doubt, and fear had it's grip on me and I couldn't shake it. However, as the day went on I continued to receive encouraging and kind words from my friends even though they didn't know that my day had been clouded. Slowly my perspective began to shift and comment by comment I felt my discouraged spirit lifting.
As I was on my way back from an afternoon run, I looked up and saw a formation of beautiful silver rimmed clouds in the sky. They immediately made me think of my cloudy day. It was my encouragers who were the "sun", lining the clouds in silver. I stopped and stared at the clouds for quite some time pondering the priceless value of those in my life that I hold close to my heart.
They are the people that...
congratulate me on each small victory.
challenge me to leap.
lift me up when I feel defeated and alone.
cheer me on when I take new risks.
speak truth into my life when I need it.
pray for me.
and most importantly....
BELIEVE IN ME!
Life can be difficult and we all need encouragers in our life that believe in us, especially when we are struggling to believe in ourselves. It's amazing how a simple word of encouragement and kindness can truly brighten an otherwise gloomy day and bring hope into the darkest of circumstances. Today my heart was full of gratitude for the amazing people in my life. It was also a powerful reminder that I need to be continuously looking for opportunities to be a silver lining in other people's life as well.
To all my encouragers....you have no idea how incredibly special you are to me. I am so very grateful for the impact you have on my life. Thank you for believing in me, it truly means the world!
I love to give students multiple opportunities to amaze themselves with that they are capable of. One of my favorite ways to do this is by giving them unexpected challenges. In anticipation of our upcoming MasterChef Challenge at the end of the unit, I decided to add in an unexpected twist to get them ready for what was to come by surprising them with a Mystery Challenge! It was one of my favorite challenges yet! Let me share with you how it all unfolded!
Setting the Stage!
As students came in the classroom, there was epic adventure music playing and on the screen it said, "Get ready! Your first Mystery Challenge is about to begin!" Anticipation and excitement immediately fills the room as the class begins to unravel what is to come. I love the questions they throw at me as they try to figure out what I'm about to reveal. There is electricity that fills the air with this unexpected twist!
The Challenge Revealed!
When the final bell rings, I reveal what is about to take place. I have 8 fanned out papers that have been folded in half displayed on my table in front of the students. I tell them that on each paper is one of two formulas for yeast bread; a rich dough and a lean dough. Each team will randomly choose one of the papers to reveal which dough they will be making for the challenge. However, there is a catch! These formulas do not include instructions. They will have to collaborate as a team to prepare the dough according to the straight dough method that they've been taught without having the instructions to rely on. Not only that, but they will be making this dough into something AMAZING and all their own!.
An Unexpected Twist!
Wait! There's more! Once all teams have selected their formula, I unveil an assortment of ingredients I have displayed on the counter and reveal another twist to the challenge. As I hand each of them foam dice, I explain that each team will roll the dice in the center of the room to determine how many mix-in ingredients they get to add in to their dough. If they roll a 2 they get 2 ingredients....4 they get four, etc. It's so fun to observe my students expressions! They are so "IN"! The wheels are turning, and each team is beginning to strategize their plan of action. As each team rolls the dice, you can hear a pin drop. They can't wait to see what the dice will reveal!
The Challenge Begins!
Once all the teams have rolled, the challenge can begin! I display a timer on the board and students enter their kitchens ready to AMAZE! The energy and excitement is palpable. Students can't wait to begin! Students spend the rest of the period preparing their dough and planning out their creation. Tomorrow they will have half of the period to shape, bake, and present their creations. I love walking around the room hearing all the chatter and learning in action. The room is buzzing with creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking as students are completely immersed in learning. Each member of the team is critical in the success of this challenge and they know it!
Mystery Challenge~Part 2!
Students practically run in on the second day of the challenge. They can't wait to get started shaping and baking their dough into something that is mind-blowing! I give students about 45 minutes to finish their preparation before the judging begins. For this challenge, I have my student aide "sous chef" and a former "MasterChef" student who is on my "Legacy Wall" help in the judging. We set up a judging table and will be evaluating their creations based on taste, texture, appearance, and creativity according to a 5 point scale. We will tally the score sheets and the first place team will earn 1000 XP, second place 750 XP and third pace, 500 XP.
They Empowered Learner
As students bring up their creations one by one, their faces say it all. They are so proud of what they've created. They are empowered learners who just took what they learned and made it their own in the most epic way. They were challenged beyond what they thought they could do and they not only did it, they CRUSHED it! This is the ultimate form of assessment and yet they never thought about it that way. By creating an experience that was challenging and fun, they were so immersed in the process they didn't realize what was really happening here....they were demonstrating to me what they had learned!
Challenge your Students to Blow your Mind!
Time after time I am amazed by my culinary kiddos; they are truly incredible. When we challenge our students to do something amazing and they absolutely will! They want to learn. They want to be challenged. They want to astonish us with what they are capable of. Transform classroom experiences into magical opportunities for students to truly shine and blow our minds and they will....every time!
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.