Less Talk, More Action

I can’t say that I love getting the “alien look” but it does remind me that I’m on the right track sometimes. When I used iPads in my classroom to maximize workflow and amplify curriculum, I got alien looks. When I purchased Bloxels and started using them in my classroom, I got alien looks. And a few weeks ago when I took my third graders snowshoeing at Crater Lake, I got the alien look. IMG_9928.JPGWhy is it that those same people who gave me this look complain about how little PE/exercise our students get? Why is that they post on Facebook that the kindergartens in Germany that are held in the woods are so amazing and how we should have something like that here? Where is the disconnect between what they think our students should be doing and what we are actually doing with them? It’s action.

The hardest part about taking any sort of action in our lives is getting started. Going from doing nothing to doing something always seems to be the most difficult part. In Education there can be many obstacles to getting started: money, time, administration, politics, not feeling supported, being afraid of failure, ….the list goes on and on. While some of these are very real hurdles, many can be overcome just by putting one foot in front of the other. For me, I am the biggest problem. I get in my own way all of the time. I always want to start out at a sprint, then I tire too quickly and get overwhelmed. I have to remind myself that not everything has to be planned out and perfect from the get-go. I also have to remind myself that just because someone thinks I’m crazy for trying something does not actually make me crazy! I don’t know how many times I’ve found myself questioning a decision or a project just based off of one person’s opinion. Why do I do that? How can I take months of thinking and planning and somehow feel like it is going up in smoke because one person didn’t like it? I need to get over that….and quick!!

One of the best ways that I have found to get over many of the hurdles I find when starting something new is to turn to my PLN. I have a fantastic PLN on Twitter that has been my sounding board and my inspiration for many of the new endeavors I’ve taken on. Whenever I have an idea or I find an idea that I want to try, my PLN is always there to help me brainstorm ideas for overcoming obstacles, encourage me to get started, and give me feedback along the way. I can be real with them and honest. But the thing about a PLN is that you only get out of it what you put in. If you are unwilling to be someone else’s sounding board and cheering squad then you will have a tough time building a strong PLN. IMG_0138

If you have been thinking about doing something out of the box or you’ve had an idea rolling around in your head but just haven’t done anything with it, I highly encourage you to get started today! Your students deserve your best every single day and that includes all of your crazy ideas! Let’s stop talking about how we can make learning and education better for kids and start DOING it!

Get started and keep going!

IMG_0060.PNGFeel free to follow me on Twitter @hmarrs24. I would be happy to be your sounding board, encourager, and voice of reason when you need it! 🙂



Spring Break Fun and #Sketch50

I didn’t realize how much I needed a break until it came! It has been such a wonderful and restful week with my family. We spent some time out in the woods up at the cabin this week. It was still pretty snowy up there but we got to spend some quality time with each other and with some good friends!IMG_9873

We also got quite a bit done in our front yard. So thankful for the last few days of great weather! It’s been such a long winter here that we haven’t had time to get out in the yard and fix it up! It feels so good to get going on it. Now we just have our backyard to do…..which is unfortunately a BIGGER job than the front….but we are making progress!

Not only do I enjoy all of the time with my family and working around the house, but I also very much enjoy the time that I get to reflect, revise, and plan my way forward. Breaks are such a wonderful time to reflect on my practices in the classroom. How have I been doing? What is working? What is not and how can I change it or ditch it? I also take advantage of this time that I have to continue my learning and connect with other educators. I love learning during a break because it gives me time to process my learning and plan how I might utilize what I’ve learned in the classroom. One great example is my recent participation in #Sketch50 on Twitter. It’s just what it sounds like! 50 sketches in 50 days! Each day I check @Sketch_50 on Twitter for the daily topic then I sit down and sketch. Once I’m done, I post it on Twitter with the hashtag and tag some of my friends. I’ve also started a Padlet to watch the development of my sketches over time. It is so cool to look at the progression already in just six days!

Made with Padlet

I’ve been doing sketchnotes with my students in the classroom since the fall. It has been so amazing to see how excited my students get when I tell them that we are going to be sketchnoting our story for the week. It’s also amazing because it reaches many of my students who are not normally engaged especially in reading. With third graders I stick to paper and pencil on day one and then we go back to it on day two to add color. This way students are able to focus on one piece at a time. When we are done, we take pictures of our work and post them to Seesaw in our digital journals.