Current obsessions: January 2017

It’s been a while since I posted! Winter is one of the times that I like to retreat into myself, figure out my Word of the Year, set some intentions, all that lovely New Years stuff. I thought about setting a 2017 intention to blog more consistently, but I realized that would take the joy out of it for me. I like to write while the heat is in me, as Thoreau once said. Any attempt at having a regular blog series, or even a weekly writing habit, has failed for me, but I’m okay with that. I’m slowly learning to do things with less rigidity, more spontaneity, more listening to my intuition.

And this morning I really feel like sharing some obsessions with you! I have lots of new podcasts that I can’t get enough of. If only there could be more time in the day to consume all this information… Plus some recipes, links, and books I’m into as well.

Cheers, and happy January!

  • I’ve been pretty fascinated by the concept of rewilding for the last year or so. I’ve taken small steps to bring the philosophy into my life, although nothing earth-shattering just yet. But it’s fun to learn about it, and imagine the wild and naturey life that I’ll live sometime in the future… The Rewild Yourself podcast has lengthy but fascinating interviews with people interested in rewilding their lives, and the She Explores podcast is all about women who inspired by time spent outdoors.
  • How to Build a Culture of Good Health: A fascinating article on the link between our emotional expression and physical health, particularly the links between childhood experiences and the immune system.
  • Eliminating decision fatigue is a major reason behind why I am so routine-based. If I don’t have to think about my morning routine, it’ll mean a calmer, more relaxing start to the day, and more room in my brain for the fast-paced decision-making demands of teaching kindergarten.
  • Speaking of calm, some ways to filter out the noise throughout your day.
  • After hearing about the book Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature a bunch of times, I finally ordered it and can’t wait to dive in.
  • I’ve been obsessed with the idea of “invitations to create” in the classroom. I’ve done a few of them, and they’ve been really successful. I love that they don’t need much of an introduction, and really engage my kids to use creativity and imagination while they explore.

 

Current obsessions: October 2016

current-obsessions-10-16

Don’t you just love fall? I know it’s the cliche favorite season for everyone ever, but I can’t help loving it. Some things I’m currently obsessed with during this beautiful autumn:

I finally started a (somewhat) regular meditation practice! I’ve been doing lots of reading on how to use mindfulness in the classroom, and everything I read suggests that the teacher needs to practice mindfulness before she can teach it to her students… So I decided I would try to get in the habit of meditating for ten minutes when I get home from school. So far so good! It’s a reasonable amount of time, I only make myself do it on the weekdays, and I’ve started to really look forward to it. After a crazy-busy day at school, it’s pretty nice to just sit around for ten minutes doing nothing but breathing. I use the app called Heartfulness, and I did splurge a few months ago and buy a meditation cushion. (It’s really just a pretty floor cushion from Pier One.)

On a similar note, I discovered some new podcasts that teach about mindfulness, meditation and the like: Tara Brach‘s podcast, Zencast, and The Mindful Podcast. My favorite is Tara Brach – her voice practically puts me to sleep it’s so peaceful, and I love her talks about life and happiness and Buddhist philosophy.

In my teaching life, I’ve been trying to figure out how to have a more meaningful choice/play time for my kindergarteners. Technically I’m not even supposed to have play time in the schedule. There’s no room for it in our master schedule, which we’re expected to comply with except on special occasions like field trip days. How awful is that? Kids should be allowed to play just for play’s sake. But I figure if I can make play time a demonstrably productive learning time, it’ll be easier to convince administration of its importance. After all, kids really do learn a lot while they play – but I want to make it seem obvious that free play time is a meaningful part of the day. I heard about this book and got super excited because it seems like it was written just for my predicament — Choice Time: How to Deepen Learning through Inquiry and Play by Renee Dinnerstein. I follow her blog, which is all about the importance of play and choice in the early grades, and can’t wait to start reading the book.

A couple song obsessions this season: I’m on Fire by Town Mountain, Midnight on the Interstate by Trampled by Turtles, and Buckets of Rain by Bob Dylan (happy Nobel prize!)

I’m also slightly obsessed with the artist/author Dallas Clayton lately. I first heard him interviewed on the Real Talk Radio podcast (Play, Art and Power of Encouraging Others), and loved everything he said. Now I’m following him on Instagram for a daily dose of inspirational art.

Current obsessions: September 2016

I’ve been making lists called “Current Obsessions” since I was in middle school. These were primarily in the form of mix tapes and CDs, which, if you know me, is not at all surprising. (I am really into lists and also really into mix CDs.) So I decided to carry over my tradition of putting together a list of the songs I’m currently obsessed with, and tweak it a bit for the blog – putting together a list of all the things that I’m currently obsessed with. It’ll be kind of like my Inspiration for the Weekend posts, but not limited to internet links. I’m hoping to find more time to write about the things I’m passionate about, instead of just providing links to other people’s writing. So here goes!

Current obsessions Sept 2016

I should note that this idea came in part from one of my current obsessions – Nicole Antoinette’s podcast Real Talk Radio. She does long-form interviews of some really amazing people involved in health, wellness and activism. And the first question she usually asks her guests is “What are you currently obsessed with?” It’s an awesome get-to-know-you question. I want to ask all my new coworkers that question.

And yes! I have new coworkers! I made an epic life decision this summer to switch school districts, so now I’ll be teaching at a school in my neighborhood (as opposed to a suburb that was about 30 minutes away). I’m going to miss my coworkers and families so much, but it seems like the right decision and I’m really excited to be starting at the new school. And it’ll save me an hour of driving every day! I can ride my bike to work! #lifechanging

Other obsessions include, obviously, how best to set up my classroom for the beginning of the school year. I have way fewer students (only 16! Last year I started with 24!) but also a smaller classroom, so I’ve had to be creative in how I set it up. I’m also trying to resist the idea of making my room perfect. I always dwell on the smallest of details, and end up spending two hours on, say, making my word wall letters perfectly spaced apart, when I could be using that time to, I don’t know…look at the curriculum? Or go home and relax? Thus, I’m trying to let go of the need for perfection. Which is hard, seeing as I am a classic Type A perfectionist… Anyways, in that spirit, I found this link to be super helpful: How Finland Starts the School Year. Seriously, if you are a teacher, read this post. It turns out you don’t NEED to spend 60 hours setting up your classroom, and in fact, maybe you shouldn’t?! (gasp)

I’m also really really trying to be more mindful about how I spend my money. Seriously, where does it all go? I don’t buy a lot of stuff, or so I tell myself. But somehow, at the end of each month, I end up spending way more than my paycheck probably allows for. Which is why I have been obsessively reading minimalist and don’t-be-stupid-about-money blogs, like this one and this one and this one. I also especially loved this from Becoming Minimalist: One Simple Question to Ask Before Any Purchase. Now I need to just start following his advice…

And last but not least, I am currently obsessed with what most others on the internet have been obsessed with for many years now… Instagram. I finally, finally let go of my resistance to having another social media platform to keep up with, and jumped on the Instagram bandwagon. So far, so good. I have a reasonable amount of willpower about not checking it too often, which makes me feel less guilt about enjoying all the inspirational pictures and posts from yoga/outdoorsy/runner people that I follow. Anyway, if you want to follow the blog’s new Instagram, I’m planning to post pictures of my morning runs and a few other things from time to time!