by Mayra Martinez
Our daily habits as educators form and shape us into who we present ourselves to be in the world. Our students are part of our world and therefore we affect our students behavior and resilience with our own habits and behaviors. This is why it is important for us as educators to have resilient habits that will promote growth and resilience not only in ourselves, but also for our students. According to Elena Aguilar in her book Onward, there are 12 habits that will strengthen an educator’s resilience.
12 habits of resilient teachers
1. Know Yourself
It is important to know ourselves, to know what we stand for, to be emotionally aware, and to know our values. Having a clear understanding of who we are helps us to be rooted in our center when there are strong winds passing through our lives. We want to know who we are and to set a daily intention of how we want to show up daily.
2. Understand Emotions
Accepting and understanding our emotions strengthens us because we know were we have influence, but we can also learn were to let go in certain situations that are beyond our control. We can build resilience by saying to ourselves, “What can go wrong today and how might I feel about it?” and then imagining how we want to react physically and emotionally. This way we can prepare emotionally for things throughout our day that might not go right. We want to have a positive outlook, but be as prepared as possible for things that might throw us off track.
3. Tell Empowering Stories
On a daily basis, practice positive self-talk that will inspire you. Read from a book that will inspire you, find and say positive affirmations, interpret your stories with a positive spin and give others the benefit of the doubt. You decide what stories you tell yourself, so why not make them positive stories that make you and others happy. Optimism is a key quality in resilient educators.
4. Build Community
Our locations at 5 Keys can sometimes have us feeling isolated, but it is important to reach out to teachers that can support and inspire us. Let’s create the habit of reaching out to one another even if it is to say “hello” through an email. This helps to build empathy and community in our organization. Having a healthy community can push us through when we have challenging moments.
5. Be Here Now
Being in the present moment, without judgment, brings clarity to who we want to be in the present moment. It also helps us to react with intention instead of being reactive to situations. We can handle situations calmly and possibly even with humor to defuse stressful situations. We can be present as our best selves even when things can get difficult.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Take care of your mind, spirit, and body because these ares the foundations to many other daily habits. Resilient educators have healthy self-perceptions and are committed to daily practices that will promote self-care. Some of these practices may include meditation, exercise, journaling, practicing gratitude, getting a message, or doing something that makes you happy and brings a smile to your face.
7. Focus on the Bright Spots
Focus on your strengths, skills, and abilities because this will build your confidence when coming across a challenging situation. As resilient educators, we want to increase our levels of self-efficacy and role model for our students how to have a growth mindset that focuses on our strengths while having the ability to take on challenging situations. We want to be able to find bright spots even in challenging situations.
8. Cultivate Compassion
We want to have the ability to take on different perspectives beyond our own. It is important to have compassion for ourselves and others. With compassion, we are able to see the different layers to a given situation and may respond to situations with various perspectives in mind.
9. Be a Learner
Practice curiosity, be inquisitive, stay open-minded to diverse possibilities and responses. This way if an obstacle comes our way, we are more likely to stay engaged in the process until a solution is reached.
10. Play and Create
Tap into your inner creative child and have fun. Reach into those playful areas in your mind were there are no limits and things can be accomplish a million and one ways. This activates our problem solving skills, resourcefulness, courage, and deepens our connection to self and others.
11. Ride the Waves of Change
Change is inevitable at 5 Keys and in our world. When we encounter these moments in our lives, it is important to focus our energies on the things that we can impact while staying hopeful. This is a time when we can elevate our perseverance, inhale our patience, and allow courage to guide us.
12. Celebrate and Appreciate
Create daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly celebration habits. Individual and collective celebrations builds trust and resilience in our abilities to see things through even when things get difficult. It also helps us to savor all those special moments in our lives and the lives of others. Have a bunch of yummy celebration moments in your life that bring you joy.
Resources: Aguilar, Elena. Onward. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2018. Print
by Koren Eloul
Shame isn’t what you feel when trip, then blush and look around to make sure no one saw; that’s embarrassment. Shame isn’t what you feel when you take a second helping in the lunch line when you know that in doing so there may not be enough for that lady way back at the end; that’s guilt. Shame, for our purposes here, is the way that the actions you have (or have not) taken and the experiences you have (or have not) received have informed your sense of who you are in a negative way, one that connects deeply to the core of your sense of identity. Shame is the feeling that makes you want to curl in on yourself and hide deeply away from sight; the desire to become invisible, even to yourself, because looking too closely at the source of that shame is too painful to bear, and the thought of others seeing it is nearly unthinkable. It is the calling into question the very story of oneself as decent, capable person. Because the stakes feel so high and the feelings are so powerful, it is not uncommon for people to live with their shame in the background for most, if not all, of their lives rather than bring it out into the light. We may catch glimpses of it operating from the periphery in side-glances, and we turn away just as quickly in disgust and fear, allowing it to continue to influence our thoughts, emotions and actions.
I am speaking about this from direct experience. When I was in my early twenties, I harmed someone economically. I knew in my heart it was wrong and yet couldn’t overcome my own selfishness and the fear I had around doing the right thing and facing potential consequences. I carried that shame for years, developing a story that reversed the blame and made myself out to be the victim because I could not stand to tell others the truth and show them, and myself, that the person of integrity I saw myself to be had failed to live up to his values when the going got tough. When I finally received the opportunity to speak the wholeness of that truth, seven years later at a training to bring Restorative Justice to people in prison, I was shocked at how overwhelming the experience was, calling forth long-dormant (but never healed) feelings of inadequacy, regret, sadness and, of course, shame. I was just as shocked at how free I felt after; how a great hidden-but-palpable weight had suddenly vanished; how empowered I felt. That experience has led to many since, until I finally feel that my storehouse has mostly been emptied to the extent that I can now try to help others in the same way I was helped; by witnessing non-judgmentally and with compassion while others speak their unspoken truths. In the Guiding Rage Into Power (GRIP) Program, and many others, they say Hurt people, hurt people. Healed people, heal people. To me, shame is a sign of deep hurt.
To close, I wish to mention again that my purpose in writing this introduction to toxic shame isn’t to present a deep analysis or a silver bullet to eliminating it; my purpose is to simply bring up its existence as a barrier, both to ourselves and our students, as a topic of further conversation. My deepest hope is that it may serve as a prompt; for ourselves to look both more deeply and honestly into our own places of shame and continue to seek healing and growth with the understanding that the work that we do on ourselves directly impacts how we are able to show up for our students (and everyone else in our lives), and to see our students’ behavioral/performance issues from this lens to grant additional patience and compassion for their internal struggles (of which we only are usually only granted superficial access).
If you'd like to explore this topic further, check out the following recommendations.
Article: Why Toxic Shame Is Not “Normal” Shame – And Why It Matters
This article extends the exploration of the topic, including symptoms of toxic shame.
BOOK: Healing the Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw
Video: Listening to shame: bRENE BROWN
Please share any thoughts or comments about this topic in the comment section!
by Cait Ferguson
Store mini-lessons in one place so you can use them whenever a student needs to learn or review a concept.
What is a demonstration notebook?
What are the elements of a demonstration notebook page?
How can a demonstration notebook be used?
Each student has unique needs, and usually, there is only one teacher in the classroom to address and meet those needs. A demonstration notebook can be a great way to help students who may be struggling with a concept when you can't work with them one-on-one. That means that while you are working with one student, the demonstration notebook can also be "working" with another student who needs help.
Therefore, a demonstration notebook is a tool for communication and a way to help “red light” students.
What is a "red light"?
Green “light”=student understands the task and can work independently
Yellow “light”=student may have some difficulties and may need teacher assistance, but can keep working on some elements of the assignment
Red “light”=student cannot continue task without guidance or instruction
You may have multiple red light students in class at the same time. The demonstration notebook can be your "assistant", holding mini-lessons that your students can work through to get back to "green light" status. This can be a tool to help students spend more productive time in class, and help teachers to feel less stressed about meeting student needs.
If you'd like to learn more about demonstration notebooks, the authors of DIY Literacy, who feature this technique, have demo videos on their website.
Demonstration notebook examples
Do you have ideas for your demonstration notebook? Comment below!
by Marchelle Broussard and Simeon Weinraub
Intro to the lancaster site
Do you have questions for the Lancaster teachers? Ask in the comments section below!
By Rose Kleiner
Do you have any students who have been stuck on the same course forever and don’t feel like they’re making any progress? Do your students ever complain about finding the curriculum boring? Do you wish you had more tools for reaching out to disengaged students?
One classroom strategy that can help is project stations. We’ve been using these at 1800 Oakdale and it’s been successful so far!
What are project stations?
Project stations are short mini-units (I usually aim for 0.25 units) set up everyday at the same location in the classroom, .
I include a sign so students immediately know what’s going on at the project station that day. When students enter the classroom, I encourage them to check out the project station table to see if it aligns with their interests and credit needs.
What are some examples of work students do at a project station?
Project stations can cover any academic topic you can imagine. I try to incorporate some of the broad categories below:
How does it work logistically?
Pick a few subjects to develop project station assignments for. I vary them day by day with a posted calendar to let students know what to expect.
Project station assignments should be Common Core aligned (you can read the standards here). Students will need the relevant content area added to their schedule in OASIS with a signed addendum and appropriate TABE scores. Check with your principal for specifics on how they’d like to run project station assignments at your site.
The feedback from students has been really positive -- once you convince them to try one, they’re usually eager to try another (or even suggest future topics!).
It’s more interesting for the teacher, too. I know we’ve all had days where we can’t bear the thought of grading another Econ packet. Project stations let you be creative and invite more conversation and collaboration between you and your students. Plus, it’s a chance to share your passions, whatever they may be.
If you’re interested in collaborating on project station ideas, join our Google group! Email email@example.com and I’ll sign you up.
by Brian Kelly
Here at Five Keys, we’re working with students who, for the most part, are not in school because someone else is making them attend. Each and every time our students walk through our classroom doors, we generally know that they’ve made the choice to come to school that day. So what do we do as instructors that lead our students to continue thinking and saying, “I’m going to class today.”? What can we do to encourage students to persist even when challenges arise (i.e. a tight schedule, family needs, frustration)? Here are some tips for retaining students and helping them build momentum towards their ultimate goal at Five Keys:
1. Acknowledge students
Let them know that you see the great choices that they’re making and the work they’re producing.
2. show their progress
Help them see their incremental progress and acknowledge themselves on a regular basis.
3. build rapport and relationship
Ask about their interests. Learn their kids’ names. Know what their plan is after they graduate from Five Keys.
4. communicate with them regularly
Cultivate the connection with each student individually and as a whole class via Remind.com, Google Voice, and other means of communication.
5. share an inspirational/motivational quote
Write it on your whiteboard or send it via text at the beginning of the week. Ask students’ what it means to them. Here’s one of my faves: “Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results.”
6. host a workshop around growth and professional development
Possible topics included having a positive mindset, knowing your ‘why,’ and goal setting/achieving.
7. handle our own RESPONSIBILITIES
My personal experience has shown me that staying up-to-date with my daily tasks (such as grading) gives me more energy and time to serve my current students and be ready for new students to enroll.
I’d like to acknowledge each of us for the things we’re already doing to have great rates of retention and attendance. And just as we challenge our students to grow, I know that we strive to get to the next level as professionals. It’s part of the Five Keys culture. With that in mind, what idea from this list or one of your own do you want to implement to keep students wanting to come to class?
Choose one and give it a go!
by Kara Valle and Cait Ferguson
Speaking and listening are often overshadowed by their siblings, reading and writing. Today, we give speaking and listening their time in the spotlight by highlighting engaging activities and resources you can use in your classroom!
First, click through the multi-modal activities for some classic exercises that work for many types of student and classroom format.
Next, some great websites with ready to use activities!
ESL CYBER LISTENING LAB
the right question institute
AMERICAN ENGLISH (ESL)
Do you have other websites that you would like to share? Comment below!
4/22/2018 0 Comments
By Helena Li
I started participating in the University of California’s Day of Service about five years ago, in which each UC holds a series of service projects on a designated day in communities across the globe in which their alumni work and reside. This year happened to be my first Day of Service in San Francisco, and being involved with my alma mater UCSD as a regional leader, I wanted nothing more than to dedicate our volunteer project to Five Keys.
It all started with…A lunch chat with Mario during one of our PD days, during which I pitched him the idea of my alumni group doing a service project for Five Keys. What we would do, I had no idea, but I was hoping he would. And boy, was I right!
We decided on…An outreach initiative that would focus on re-engaging students who had recently unenrolled, as well as helping teachers with tasks they probably did not have time for. These two ideas materialized in the form of sending out handwritten postcards and making digital flyers for teachers - these are obviously two tasks teachers would all love to do, but realistically, where would the time and resources come from? Enter UCSD Alumni!
So we started preparing…I had a series of meetings with Mario to create a game plan - the who, the how, the where, the what. He was kind enough to offer to feed our volunteers lunch (Chinese food!) and coffee (how else could we get started?). He figured out how to run the reports for the data we needed, which we settled on being a list of students from this school year who had been active but were no longer enrolled. After compiling a spreadsheet of 1000 names, I filtered out the duplicates, addresses that were Five Keys sites, no addresses, etc, and ended up with about 700 names. I was a little nervous - I didn’t know how many volunteers would show and whether UCSD had liability insurance for alumni who injured their hands writing hundreds of postcards in this digital age of emails and texting (spoiler: everything worked out).
I went to Office Max and bought out their whole stock of printable postcards and Jenn Mendoza graciously helped me print them in our little printer at Oakdale (700 of them!) and also all the student address and return labels (1400 of them!). Mario and I sent out many, many emails - sorry - to the staff letting everyone know about the event and to submit their requests for flyers. At first there were very few flyer requests and I was a little disheartened that the impact for the teachers wouldn’t be as big as I’d hoped, but with Mario’s encouragement and dedication to reaching out to teachers, we ended up with a solid number of requests! Now my new worry was whether we’d finish them all. Can never win.
And the best part - the day of the project! Six volunteers showed up on Sunday, March 11 from 10am-3pm at Oakdale and finished all the tasks we had on our to-do list, and most importantly, ate all the Chinese food. Four people wrote postcards (175 cards each!) and two people worked on the flyers (all 19 flyers completed!). I was very impressed by and proud of our small but mighty group and they immensely enjoyed learning about Five Keys and our impact in the community.
My parting thoughts…I would love to do this again! I hope Five Keys empowers teachers and staff to take ownership of projects that will benefit our students and increase our staff’s own sense of fulfillment. I’ve already received an email from a teacher that a student came back because he received a postcard - my heart feels like it’s filled with warm chicken soup. Thank you for welcoming my UCSD Alumni group in to Five Keys to do something meaningful for our community; I know that it meant a lot to them, and especially me.
If you have students who are returning because of the postcards, I would be so grateful and happy to know about it - please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Commonlit is also a great resource to support our students who will be taking the CAASPP assessment. The platform will help students practice traditional and digital literacy skills which are critical elements to the test. In particular, students will complete at least one “performance task” during their testing which will require being able to define words in context, identify themes, synthesize information and construct an argument—all skills that students can practice with Commonlit!
And much more!
Commonlit has constructed a site that is easy to navigate and adapt in many different contents and contexts. The site is also updated continually, with new readings and features added often. Explore and you will find something fun for your students!
By Helena Li
What is it?
Earlier this year, I discovered a tool that greatly increased my productivity and organization - Google’s Inbox website. It’s actually created by the Gmail team and is simply a different interface for your email that turns each email into a task to be checked off - who doesn’t like checking things off?? The rationale is that instead of keeping all those hundreds (thousands? tens of thousands?) of emails visible in your inbox and cluttering your visual organization, we can view each email as a task that requires your attention and once you have dealt with it, it should disappear from view (you can still find it any time). The goal is to complete all your tasks (aka "zero out") your inbox. As many of us spend a lot of time on email, it should serve us instead of own us.
Now, prepare to be reacquainted with your sanity. (Tangent: If anyone is a fan of Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, this tool will be your best friend.)
Here is a one-minute video introduction to Inbox so you can see it in action:
I need it NOW
If you want to follow along with the features I highlight, go to www.google.com/inbox and click on the “Get Inbox” button. It will open your email in the Inbox interface, but don’t worry, you can get to your familiar Gmail as you always did, at any time through www.gmail.com. If you want it on your phone, you can download the Inbox app (I use it for my personal email also, and you can add multiple accounts - life-changing, I tell you).
If you decide to always log in to the Inbox interface as I do, just go through www.inbox.google.com instead of www.gmail.com.
Beware that when you first see your Inbox, all of your emails will show because you haven’t checked anything off. If you decide to use Inbox, take a few minutes to checkmark all your old emails, which you can do by the month instead of one by one (so thoughtful, Google is). When I first did this, it recognized that I was simply clearing everything out and automatically checked everything off after I started checking off whole months, so I didn’t have to back-check years.
Ok, but what’s so great about it?
Here are the top 5 features of Inbox that I think will be most useful to managers, teachers, and staff. Some of these are simply re-named from Gmail and function very similarly (and looking much better), while others are enhanced or new functions.
To preface, let me briefly go over the anatomy of your Inbox interface. The emails are chunked and visually separated by time in reverse chronological order. The top section will always be “Today” down to “This month” and then by previous months if you have active ones from those months. It helps to see them separated instead of one giant dense list.
Each email message itself has 5 buttons that show when you hover on the email or expand the email:
You’ll get to know these buttons very well as you use Inbox. They are: Pin, Snooze, Delete, Done, and Move.
(Pro tip: You see the PDF attached to that email? You can open attachments - PDFs, files, docs - without actually opening the email and scrolling through it!)
#1: The To-Do
This is my favorite feature, and I admit, has become addicting. It’s so satisfying to check off the emails and see them go away, which has actually increased my enthusiasm for tackling my emails aka tasks.
Each email is essentially an open loop that we want to close, and many of them simply take a glance to be marked Done. It’s very intuitive to use - once you’ve read the email and completed any actions associated with it, mark it Done by clicking the checkmark button and it will be housed in the Done section instead of your Inbox section. This is very similar to Gmail’s Archive function, but who even used Archive?
Your Inbox section is prime real estate and should only be for emails that require your action or you have not gotten to yet.
#2: The Snooze
So, what if the task isn’t actually done, but is waiting for action from someone else or is something you want to get to on a later date? Behold, the Snooze!
Snooze the email by clicking the clock button to set a timer for it to return on a date and time you choose, and it will disappear from your inbox until then. You can even snooze an email that you send, so that it will reappear in your inbox if no one has replied by that date (similar to the new Boomerang feature in Gmail). It’s pretty much impossible to keep track of every email you need a response to, so responsibility ends up on the recipient to reply; and if they don’t, a lot of things fall through the cracks. But now, you can be the King/Queen of the magical land called Following Up.
Pro tip: You can designate your own most-used dates and times to show up here, just click Settings (bottom left of the screen) and into the Snooze section.
#3: The Reminder
You know how you send yourself emails to remind yourself to do something or remember a piece of information? There’s a thing for that now, and it’s the Reminder function found on the bottom right. You can set a reminder to do something if it’s a task that your existing emails or open loops don’t prompt you to do. You can even set a recurring reminder if you need it.
Hover over this plus sign:
And it will turn into this:
The blue button of the finger with a ribbon is what you’re after (the other buttons are your most emailed people). Type in your reminder and even set a snooze time for it to show up (if you don’t set snooze, it will show simply up in your inbox right away).
#4: The Pin
The Pin is similar to the Star action in Gmail, used for items that you constantly refer to or are priorities/important. You can pin any email by clicking the thumbtack button, and there is even a toggle view in your inbox to only see the pinned emails.
#5: The Template
These were the Canned Responses from Gmail, which you could activate if you were a Gmail power-user and played with the Labs. Now, it’s a standard function in Inbox and saves me so much time. You can create template emails for anything that you repeatedly send, which I have for GED testing requests and my daily ISP attendance. It saves so much time because I don’t have to type it each time or go to another document to copy and paste.
Click Settings, then Templates, and create any templates from here.
When you want to use your templates, click the Compose button (red plus sign), the little down arrow, and then the notepad. You can then choose from your list of templates and the template will populate into your email. Another way to add templates instead of through Settings is to compose it as a new message first and click “Make this draft a template” directly from here.
Are you sold?
Email has not evolved like this in a really long time, which is unfortunate given how quickly technology is changing - I think email should be improving too, given it’s our main tool of communication. The last time email made such a great leap was when Gmail started to thread emails together instead of each reply being a separate email in reverse chronological order (take that, Hotmail and Yahoo!) and you had to go searching for the corresponding responses - fun times. I think that sooner or later, the traditional email interface will be replaced by more user-friendly and intuitive designs and actions such as Inbox, so you might as well be the early adopter instead of the bandwagoner! Let me know how it works for you and if you find any useful tips!