Inspiration for the week

freedombooks

I apologize I haven’t been posting lately. School will be over in one week (actually four days!) and I promise to be more active on here. One of my goals for the summer is to connect with writing and blogging more, as it’s a creative outlet that brings me a lot of happiness. But only when I make time for it! Meanwhile, here are a few links to inspire over the next week:

Catching a piece of the sky: on childhood and wonder

Jose Vilson (who wrote This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class and Education) had a series of guest posts on his blog that I loved. This one especially.

Another Jose Vilson piece: We must not be defeated. On optimism in May.

I’m fascinated by simple, effective ways to do inquiry-based teaching. I liked this article, on why it’s not always important to name everything we find in the natural world.

Super cool! The first school district to embrace climate literacy. Maybe I should go teach in Portland.

I don’t know much about John Muir, but I’d like to know more, and I always see his quote “The mountains are calling” all over my Pinterest boards. Adventure Journal delves into what the quote actually means.

Hooray for the new food labels! They now have to show explicitly how much added sugar is in packaged foods. Serving sizes will also be changed to more accurately reflect the amount people eat.

This is your brain on nature.

I’m a slow runner, and always have been. This piece gave me hope that it might not have to be that way forever 🙂

Inspiration for the week

wildnessI love leisurely Saturday mornings. They usually result in me drinking too much coffee (so warm and tasty!) and attempting to read the whole internet. So here is some weekend inspiration to share:

Have I mentioned my obsession with the Running on Om podcast? I can’t get enough of it. Try this episode on feminine fierce, or this one on falling in love with your running, or this one on the intersection of running, nutrition and intuition.

I’m trying to get better at journaling every day. I’ve figured out a good way to meditate in the morning (just two minutes, right before breakfast), but haven’t been able to fit journaling in my daily routine. This gives some good inspiration to find the time:

  • When you become a better listener to yourself, you become a better listener to others.
  • This soft quiet practice initiates the nurturing of your inner teacher, who happens to be pretty benevolent, empathetic and compassionate. You’ll start to be more lenient on yourself and that will trickle down to others because you’ll realize that we’re all doing the best we can with the tools we have.

When things are changing. Paying attention to subtle changes in your life/mind/body/soul, and why that’s important.

I always grapple with the paradox of personal growth: How do you find a balance between accepting and loving yourself for who you are, and working to change yourself for the better?

And in the teaching world:

Extraordinary things happen when we simplify childhood. I’m not a parent, but I have kids I love, and oh my gosh do I love this article.

Teaching kindergarten in a new age of anxiety. YES.

Just found another teaching book I can’t live without. I wish I had an unlimited budget for books… The Teacher You Want to Be: Essays about Children, Learning and Teaching.

Inspiration for the week

davinciprint

Some links to inspire on this beautiful fall day!

On summer’s departure. But autumn in the midwest, how do I love thee.

I may have already linked to this once, but I listened to the unedited version of Mary Oliver’s interview on the On Being podcast. She’s pretty amazing.

We are becoming the phone people! Yuck.

I really want to try making apple cider kombucha.

Speaking of fermented things, I follow this fermentation blog, Phickle, and would love to get her new book Ferment Your Vegetables!

Textbooks whitewashing history. No surprise there.

I don’t know much about this yet, but apparently Obama wants students to stop taking unnecessary tests. Heck yes.

I love this blog written by an American teacher who moved to Finland. He had an article in the Atlantic a while back which is how I found out about it. But I like his most recent post a lot as well: Finland’s teachers – with less stress and more time – collaborate naturally. My favorite line? “Collaboration is virtually impossible when teachers are overwhelmed.” My second favorite line? “Teachers need many opportunities to work together, and a lighter teaching load to maximize the time they spend together.” AMEN!

And for celebrating fall with your students…the Ultimate List of Books that Inspire Nature Explorations.

Inspiration for the week

thelittlegardener_emilyhughes4

The beginning of the school year took over everything! No surprise there of course, but I apologize for going so long between posts. Now that the first month is over, I finally have time to share some inspirational links that have been carrying me through:

I really want to do Project 333, a challenge to reduce the amount of clothes you own. It’ll make deciding what to wear in the morning way easier.

8 ways to finish the year with love and intention. It’s only the beginning of fall, but the end of the year will be here before you know it. I liked this nice list of suggestions.

The truth of “Black Lives Matter,” so that no one can claim ignorance about this movement anymore.

We have to do a research project as part of our teaching this year (in our “spare time”) and I decided to do mine on mindfulness practices in the classroom. I’m so excited! I got these two books (Planting Seeds and Mindfulness for Teachers) and also started a pin board to kickstart my research.

I LOVE this teacher’s blog, Inquiring Minds. She has the coolest ways of nurturing curiosity, wonder, and inquiry with her kindergarteners! Like this kite inquiry they did recently.

The Book of Trees: Visualizing Branches of Knowledge looks amazing.

Stovetop granola! I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks awesome.

I am totally guilty of Inspirational Photo binging. This post was hilarious.

 

Inspiration for the week

It’s been a while since I’ve posted! As usual the summer is flying by, filled with a trip to Montana to see a dear friend get married, work at the nature center, and lots of time spent reading. The gorgeous weather this summer has made me much less inclined to be on the computer – but I have gathered some inspirational links in the past few weeks that I’d love to share!

Let’s put those tired anti-bike arguments to rest. Yes please.

Rainbows and privilege. Hooray hooray! I love this post. “Covering your profile picture in a rainbow isn’t going to cut it – though don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent start. But for you, for me, for all of us – there is so much more that we should do.”

Why you should quit your job and travel solo. While I have no desire to quit my job, my first solo trip (a brief, four-day trip to Vermont when I lived in New York) was kind of life-changing. It was the first thing I had done completely alone, and it made me feel powerful and adventurous and confident. I’ve taken several more solo trips since then, and I highly recommend it.

I’m kind of taking a break from making kombucha right now, so it was helpful to read this post, from the fermentation blog Phickle, on how a kombucha scoby can stay healthy for quite a while, even if you ignore it.

A mindfulness coloring book for adults!

Last but not least, this article confirms what every kindergarten teacher knows: when you’re a little kid, learning social skills is more important than learning academic skills. Too much urgency surrounds academics and testing in kindergarten, leaving no time for play – and through play, kids learn empathy, kindness, and how to take turns. In the long run, research shows that pro-social skills are more important than academic skills when it comes to leading a successful life.

Tips for becoming a runner, from a former non-runner

In news that makes my soul very happy, my mom has started running! And so have two of my very favorite friends who are also baby mamas (thus making the accomplishment of running even more amazing since they are raising children at the same time).

Now, I realize that running isn’t for everyone. But it has done such wonders for my life that I feel like I want to convince everyone who ever lived to become a runner. Having trouble sleeping? Try running. Want to lose weight? Try running. Feeling sad about life? Try running. Need to feel powerful or motivated? Try running. Need some alone time? Try going for a run.

Now, I realize this is obnoxious, so I keep it to myself. In fact, I almost never talk about running unless someone brings it up first. (But if they do, I usually can’t shut up about it.) I remember exactly how it felt to be a non-runner, and see people I knew going for an effortless three mile run in the morning. They were lean and muscular and also very zen about the world. And they made it look so easy! I was an unhealthy, slightly sedentary college student, with my longest daily exercise being a 15 minute bike ride to campus. Running even one mile was like torture.

But fast forward to today, and I have done one marathon (whoa), quite a few half marathons, and lots of little races. I also run three miles a day regularly. As a result, I feel happier, healthier, better at sleeping, better at eating, better at life in general. And I want everyone to have this feeling! But it’s a huge uphill climb to go from being a non-runner to a runner.

(As a side note, the word “runner” is loaded and in my head people take it way too seriously. I think you’re a runner if you sometimes choose to go for a run. Or when you decide you want to be a runner. But it took me a long time to be comfortable calling myself that.)

As a result of my unrealistic desire to turn everyone into a runner, I’ve decided to share some tips about what helps me keep running. While I’m no expert, I’ve been running for seven years now, which, at the age of 29, is 25% of my life. Thus, I’ve accumulated a few ideas for how to go from running-is-miserable-torture to running-is-freedom.

These tips are in no particular order of helpfulness, and may not work for everyone. But they work for me!

Tips for Becoming a Runner

Tip #1: Read inspirational stuff on the internet.

Blogs help motivate me to do lots of things. I have a ridiculously long blogroll that I read each week. And while reading about running doesn’t make you actually go out and do it, I find that it helps me when I’m wavering between “I am really exhausted and would much rather lay around watching Game of Thrones” and “Maybe I should just get up and go for a run.” Fortunately there are so many inspirational things written about running on the interwebs! Here a just a few of my favorites:

Blogs

Articles

Boards

Like these ones on running and hiking and yogis and self improvement and happiness.

{photo credit}

2015 Intentions

I realize that mid-March is a little late to be setting intentions for the year, but I actually made this in January, after seeing a post called 2015, Visualized. January is always my most reflective month, when I do lots of journaling and set all sorts of goals and resolutions. My goals are often specific things I can work towards, like do yoga once a week or run a half marathon.

But this year I decided I wanted to be more present in my life as it is now, in the moment I am living, instead of focusing on what future achievements I will check off my list. Instead of thinking what will I work towards for the future? I decided to think what do I want my life to look like now? What do I want my days to be filled with?

So instead of setting goals, like I usually do, I decided to set intentions. (The difference between the two concepts – goals and intentions – is summed up really nicely here). And when I couldn’t stick to just one or two intentions, I got really excited to make an Intention Board. Kind of like a Vision Board, but instead of using magazine cutouts, I got to find beautiful pictures on the internet to represent my intentions.

So here it is, a visualization of my intentions for 2015:

2015 intention board

This year, I will:

Fill my kitchen with fresh, local foods from gardens, markets, and the coop.

Focus on my health by eating more fruits and vegetables, less sugar.

Find time to practice my banjo. Just a few minutes each day.

Run more, without agenda.

Find time and space to be in solitude, with a book and a cup of coffee.

Open myself up to my relationship, wholeheartedly.

Spend less on things, more on experiences.

More yoga. More yoga. More yoga.

Practice gratitude daily.

Go climbing more, and become more confident at it.

Remember to maintain a sense of wonder about the world, for myself and for my students.

Have more adventures, however big or small.

Journal every day. Just a page.

Be more connected to water – kayaking, canoeing, swimming, listening, seeing.

Practice slowness. Presence over productivity.

Travel. Travel. Travel.

Scientist of the Month!

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Seriously, how did teachers do it before the invention of Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers? If you are a teacher that has not discovered the wonders of these two websites, I urge you to go explore them! You will probably develop a ruthless addiction to both sites, because they offer endless ideas and teacher-made resources, often for free!  There have been so many times that I think “man, it would be so cool if I had {insert awesome idea} for my classroom, but I’ll never have time to make it!” And then, I type the words into Pinterest and voila! Another brilliant teacher has already made the exact thing I was hoping to have. Amazing.

Here’s an example. This spring I talked to my kindergarteners a lot about being a scientist when they grow up, but I realized that I never really explained what that meant. So in a frantic attempt to give them a better understanding of what it means to “be a scientist,” I read them a book by Jane Goodall. Well then for several weeks they thought that being a scientist meant living in the jungle with chimpanzees! While that is certainly one option for scientists, there are obviously many more routes that science-inclined people can take.

So, I decided the best thing to do next year would be to have a featured “Scientist of the Month.” During the first week of each month, we could read books and watch clips about this scientist. This will be a great way to get more nonfiction books in my kids’ hands (you’re welcome, Common Core) as well as get them exposed to all kinds of scientists – including female ones!

Well, it’s not enough to have a brilliant idea like Scientist of the Month. Turns out you actually have to make a plan for which scientists will be featured, and put together some info for the kids on each one. Thus, “make Scientist of the Month packet” got added to the bottom of my supremely long list of summer projects.

But wait! Thanks to the miracle that is Pinterest, I learned that another teacher had the same brilliant idea, and is giving away her Scientist of the Month stuff for free! She did all the work of choosing scientists, finding pictures of them, and putting together biographical information on each one. So awesome.

Scientist bios

So if you want to do the Scientist of the Month idea too, go on over to The Teacher Garden to get pictures and bios on each scientist. And for a lovely title poster for your bulletin board, click on the image below to download it (or click here if the link doesn’t work). Hooray for the internet, and teachers who make my workload easier!

Scientist of Month

Inspiration for the weekend

rachelcarson

Amazing interview with Sylvia Earle, the first person to walk on the bottom of the ocean.

I used to think I was a complete extrovert, but as I get older I realize that I am much more in the middle of the extrovert-introvert continuum. So I appreciated this article: Six health lessons everyone can learn from introverts.

Rules to live by.

Delicious eats to try: Carrot salad with tahini and crisped chickpeas / Zucchini pickles / Peach and roasted vegetable salad.

The problem with pre-eating. <– I do this all the time. Chips and hummus are my weakness.

The quote above.

Podcast inspiration: On Being

ImageSo, I am slightly obsessed with podcasts. As in, I subscribe to far more podcasts than any human could possibly listen to in one week. Lately, I’ve been trying to be more selective about which ones I try to keep up with (it’s like trying to watch all the show series on HBO – there are just too many good ones and you have to let some go, unless you want to be glued to your television all weekend long). But I came across one that is totally worth following, and I just had to share it.

It’s called On Being, and listening to it has made my mornings so much more peaceful and thoughtful. The central question for each show is: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? The host, Krista Tippet, interviews some incredible people and asks them really thought-provoking questions about mindfulness, spirituality, knowledge, and imagination. So far I’ve listened to ones featuring Thich Naht Hanh, Brian Greene, and the Indigo Girls. The most motivating one of all for me was featuring Brene Brown, on the courage to be vulnerable. The picture above is a graphic recording of her interview. I highly recommend it.

{If you haven’t discovered the joy of podcasts yet, here’s a guide to what they are and how to get them. They’re basically free, downloadable radio shows on any topic you can imagine.}