By choosing optimism in life and in the classroom – you choose achievement and the movement towards success with your students. Optimism is contagious, invigorating, and inspirational. Teachers, Educators, and parents alike must set their sights high and adhere to optimism for their students. We set the example!
Optimistic inquiring very early, every morning, is for me! I choose Twitter to meet with and share with other professional Educators I would not be able to otherwise because they are all over the globe. The most innovative and current ideas for student success are shared through tweets, re-tweets, and #hashtag discussions. Twitter for education is a success. I use Twitter to communicate information that will encourage other Educators to be optimistic with students; looking towards the future with increased hope, more ideas, and great enthusiasm. We are looking forward to progress in every student’s educational career. Twitter is one way for me to take part in empowering our students. For example, #EdChats on Twitter involve Educators from all over, learning and sharing valuable information. We have ‘conversations’ about how to make the learning experiences of K-12 students authentic. Twitter helps make it possible for me to communicate with top Educators from around the world; to truly take part in Twitter educational chats; to help students to thrive for success; and allow Educators to gain a global connection that will affect students in a positive way.
The whole point of sharing information on a platform such as Twitter to me is to learn from one another, to look at situations Teachers face daily or weekly, and collaboratively come up with solutions to make every teaching environment and moment the best it can be. Sharing relevant knowledge that can be applied in real-life situations is an incredible feeling! Knowing that your knowledge will help an Educator is empowering in itself. My ‘village’ includes #EdChat participants that focus on different aspects within the teaching field. For example, ADHD in the classroom, Math strategies for students, Reading and Writing documentation, inspiring morning routines that help celebrate each day, Technology in the classroom. The Educators that I interact with on Twitter are positive, ready to meet all student needs, and are proactive in choosing optimism. I choose optimism because I see it as a path to achievement and success, for students and for Educators. One great way of sharing positive educational experiences is to create a classroom Twitter account. So many possibilities!
Quotes on the classroom board, first thing, can set the mood for the day. I wanted to share this quote with you; my hope is that it resonates with you as it did with me. Helen Keller epitomized the act of being optimistic; in life, under adverse conditions, and in achieving success in spite of it. Educators truly are working in adverse conditions in today’s world of teaching. More on that another time. Teachers face scrutiny on a daily basis. Standardized testing and changing public policies can affect student learning. Yet, I still feel it is true: Teachers that choose to be optimistic? They take the road to achievement for students in their classroom. Positive energy begets positive energy.
What are other ways to interject optimism into the journey of achievement and success in the classroom? And how do you carry that out in your daily life? What are your ideas? What are your strategies? What are parts of your routine that are implemented daily so that optimism is always on the classroom menu?
Here are a few other creative ideas that I have and would like to share with you:
- A great way to engage students is through picture-taking and video-creating in the classroom – and outside of the classroom for yourself. Taking pictures of one another is fun, selfie shots are fun, pictures of completed tasks – before shots, seeing the entire project process is fun, and pictures displaying final results are definitely fun! Most important is that you see the progress in the process throughout the pictures. Students and Teachers are so engaged in the project that the idea of learning is secondary and authenticity is number one. So many ways to use ‘picture-taking’ in the classroom.
- Why not begin your day with an inspirational quote? A quote meant to generate discussion first among peers, and second, with the Teacher. Quotes from all genres, varied people, mixing it up so that you may delve into a topic that may even be necessary in the classroom. I love to like quotes on Goodreads. Your students could actually even do the same creating their own Goodreads account. The example of the quote I picked at the beginning of this blog post was to generate deeper discussion and to use and apply critical thinking skills. The following is also one of my favorites: ‘ Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself …” ‘ — C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves). Learning experiences with quotes can help students see life from another’s perspective, interpret the quote in their own way, all of which could lead to group discussion on a deeper level.
- Shared writing is an excellent source for authentic learning experiences, regardless of age or grade level. Writers need to both see knowledgeable writers at work (their peers or a Teacher modeling experienced writing) and to take part in writing situations as often as possible in authentic and well-documented ways with as much support as possible. Buddy writing, transferring a student-recorded story onto paper, writing mentors within the student’s themselves, writing conferences among peers, picture-taking of a shared writing experience, etc. According to NCTE and Sharan A Gibson, Ph.D: “Shared writing lessons will allow you to both model and actively engage students in the writing processes that they most need to improve their writing.” Every age needs shared writing. Just imagine a story eleventh grade students could put together collaboratively! This is an optimistic choice. This is how faith leads to achievement and success. The (success) story is the achievement!
My hope is that Helen Keller’s quote inspired you as much as it did me. Students deserve our optimism, generated from parents and Educators alike. Helen Keller’s quote generated discussion here with just little old me. How do you choose optimism in life in these challenging times? What positive and creative ideas do you have to offer from your classroom experience? Please, share your ideas; I certainly would love to hear from you!