Thursday, August 17, 2017

The BEST Bell Ringers and Growth Mindset Activities!

I'm using this blog to post some of my very favorite lesson ideas for secondary students!  This year, I'm all about teaching kids the difference between fixed and growth mindsets.  I was inspired after I read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, which makes the point that raw, God given talent is usually a farce. and that hard work and practice are paramount.  That's what my middle school kiddos need drummed into them!

Anyhoo, here are some of my favorites:

1)   Growth Mindset Bell Ringers:

Found here

Using these prompts and brain breaks has really helped me revolutionize how my students perform and behave! Engage, inspire, and challenge your students with this product!

This includes:

* Ten challenges for students to rewrite fixed mindsets into growth mindsets: writing practice and inspiration in one swoop!

* How to use Riddle Brain Breaks to foster a growth mindset in your classroom

* Five fun Growth Mindset Brain Breaks, including using clips from the movie Rocky to teach fixed vs. growth mindset and three other collaborative activities

* Stories from ten famous “failures” who didn’t give up: Former President Obama, Ben Franklin, Oprah Winfrey, JK Rowling, Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Alexander Graham Bell, and the Wright Brother

2) Growth Mindset Escape Room

For some reason, the picture is not appearing for this, but I found this on Teachers Pay Teachers, and it is really interesting!  Way more set up and explanation than writing prompts, but if you have the patience and time to dedicate to it, it would be awesome.  I haven't used it with my kiddos yet, but I'm excited about using it.  Found here.

3) Bell Ringers for Middle and High:  Sports Edition

Found here

Engage your students with silly, interesting, and inspirational quotes from top athletes!  While all of these are not growth mindset focused, there are several inspirational ones and I like to use them to teach that writing is a PROCESS, a very growth mindset concept!

This product includes writing prompts inspired by quotes from Mia Hamm, Simone Biles, Michelle Kwan, Mohammad Ali, Peyton Manning, Serena Williams, Wayne Gretzky, Wilma Rudolph, Danica Patrick, Michael Phelps, David Beckham, Jackie Robinson, Jeff Gordon, Joe Louis, and Michael Jordan! 

Engaging prompts and a picture of the athlete on every slide, as well as two links to fascinating videos! Simply project the prompt on a screen and have them type or jot down their response! 

4) September Bell Ringers

Found here

I love these September Bell Ringers for so many reasons:  they spur creativity, teach writing is a process, and have many growth mindset themed ones about goal setting.  The prompts are engaging and interesting. 20 September themed writing topics, including: 

Academic Goal Setting
Letter to Yourself
What’s in a name?
Persuasive: Year Round School Vs. Traditional Schedule
Happy September Birthdays!
Option 2 for September Birthdays Prompt
Expository: So You Want to be a Principal?
September 6th: National Read a Book Day
Do Tell: Who’s your Favorite Book Character
Power of Persuasion: School Uniforms vs. Choice of Clothing
September 10th: National Swap Ideas Day (25 min. activity!)
September 11th: Patriot Day & Day of Service and Remembrance 
September 12th: National Encouragement Day
National Pet Memorial Day
Creative: Write from a Different POV (inspired by “National Hat Day” on Sept. 15th)
September 15th: National Live Creative Day
Expository: What’s Your Dream House?
September 25th: Shel Silverstein’s Birthday
Persuasion: National Gum Chewing Day (Sept. 30th!) 

There are also tips for teachers and a chart with differentiation ideas!

5)  More Growth Mindset Bell Ringers

While these ones don't have pictures like the ones posted above, they have very interesting quotes to reflect on.  Check it out here!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Have baby, will travel..

Cute family picture, right?

You have no idea what it took to get it.

I got an education in traveling with a nine month old this past week.  It makes me marvel at the moms out there with more than one kid who always know where the Cheerios are located in the minivan for when someone gets snacky because unlike them, we were an absolute mess.  

After cramming the trunk and backseat with Baby Boy's high chair, formula, baby water, pack n' play, toys, beach umbrella, baby pool, clothes, floats, and dipes, there was no room for our laundry basket of towels and clean linens and we were already late leaving to beat the traffic to the beaches at Nags Head, so I hissed at Dan, "Just dump it on my lap!" He stacked the towels on me and I endured the six and a half hour trip with my head perched on top of the stack and my cranky baby bellowing in the back.  He refused to nap and I had to wrench my arm behind my seat to give him nips of the bottle when the traffic was too heavy to pull over.  He just chewed on it (#teethingproblems) and refused to drink and then shrieked a few minutes later because he was hungry.

We pulled over for diaper changes.  The first one, it took us twenty minutes to find the wipes and then Coleson flailed, smearing his foot in his dirty diaper, so I lugged him to the ladies room to soap it down.

When we arrived at our beach house, I snapped into, "Time to make memories!" mode.  Let's all go on Coleson's first trip to the beach!    I had my fancy DSLR camera slung over my shoulder. My mission was to capture our first family picture with the waves as a backdrop; oh, and maybe a cute one of Coleson trying to shovel sand in his mouth. I plopped Coleson on the towel and scooped up some of the powdery sand, letting it escape through my fingers so that he could watch it cascade down.

Coleson  just gasped and whined.  I made my voice go higher, all, "Look!  Buddy Boy, this is sand!  Isn't the sand so sooofft??"  Smelling my desperation to make this moment a memory, he began to bawl.  Still determined, I scooped him up, trilling, "Let's go see the ocean! The ocean! The ocean!", but his bunchy swim diaper shifted slightly.  Coleson pissed at the same time so that it ran down his leg and left a wet baby bum print on my shirt., a metaphor for how he felt about the whole experience, if you ask me.  

I somehow had forgotten to pack wipes or a replacement outfit, so I had to strip him down, put on a fresh dipe, and wrap him in a towel.  He kicked and screamed when I changed him, making sand shift onto the towel and stick to places where sand should never be.  I tried to clean him up with a water bottle bidet action.

He liked looking out at the waves, but we soon realized that he despised being on a towel.  And being hot. And wearing his sunhat or sunglasses.  And getting lotioned up with baby sunscreen. which I smeared on despite his cries of agony  And more than anything, touching sand.  That meant we all took turns trying to snap him out of his funky mood, especially his Grampy who gave A+ quality entertainment.

 The next day, Dan and I did some troubleshooting of the whole experience and reasoned that Buddy Boy must have just been tired the previous day and that we needed to time the beach time with his naps.  That, and we needed to make him more comfortable by bringing a TON of shit with us.  A bib, spoon, and a jar of peaches for snacking.  A giant comforter so he wouldn't have to touch the sand.  A beach umbrella so he wouldn't get hot.  Teething toys to soothe his gums.  A chair for me.  Baby sunscreen.  A baby hat with SPF.  A change of clothes in case we had the same situation as the previous day.  

Within ten minutes of arriving...

* I searched for the peaches and had to walk back to the beach house to get them off the kitchen counter.
* A gust of wind blew the umbrella inside out and Coleson shrieked.
* Then, I tried to feed our screaming baby and he knocked the peaches all over me and the comforter.
* He dropped the teether on the blanket and it was coated with sand (his kryptonite, apparently)
* The only thing to stop him from sobbing was walking him near the waves

In short, it was a complete sitcom, and we gave up after twenty minutes and went back to the beach house where Coleson munched victoriously on a piece of celery. 

Baby: 2  
Parents: 0

It's a good thing we had his beloved Mimi and Grampy and Auntie with us this week.  They helped keep us sane.

His auntie even bought him this adorable turtle float, which he ended up loving.  Turns out our non-beach bum is a total water baby!

 We, of course, swooped in to try to take our perfect family photo once again, trying everything to get him to look at the camera:

He wasn't having it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What life looks like with an eight month old...

House looks like this:

Actually, the above pic is not half bad!  Damn, that actually looks kinda cute with his toys mostly on the blanket, almost like it was staged.  The reality of the state of our house right now is about ten baskets of clean laundry that need to be put away, as I was tempted this morning to actually wear bikini bottoms because Coleson was screaming and I was debating whether I had time to root around in the mountains of clothes for underwear.

First trip to Science Museum looked like this:

Hair looks like this:

I realized that I've resorted to pulling my hair in low, ugly ponytails (total "mom style") every single day 'cause Baby Boy tries to yank it out.  After seeing too many pictures with my limp hair in a messy pony, it might be time for me to actually style my hair on weekdays again.  At least my hair is growing back after the postpartum hair loss. Yeah, no one told me about that... 

Embarrassing photo op looked like this;

First time at the pool looked like this:

Notice the jacked up mom hair again:

Enchanted baby stalking the otters looked like this:

Distracting a fussy, teething baby with a trip to Petco even though we have no pet looked like this:

Selfie while at a butterfly atrium looked like this:

And all the while, my blog has looked like this:

Last post April 21st??  Piss poor!  Ahh well, guess a certain someone has kept us busy!

Updates coming!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Landslide of Monthly Updates

Remember how I wanted to write a monthly letter to my son with a seasonal monthly photo?  Yeah, that was the plan.  I'm four months behind. 

You might remember THIS POST for November, his first month.

And THIS POST for December, when he had his first Christmas.

Annnnnd.... here we swoosh through four neglected months.  At least I remembered to take the pictures along the way.

Here we go:

Hi, Coleson!   You will be half a year old in eight days.  The cliche about time is most definitely true.  I can't believe you've been in the world for half a year.  Half. a. year.

What a six months it has been!


In January...

* I agonized over whether to stay home longer with you, and finally decided that I would!

* I started hopping in the tub with you for bath time to give us a little extra bonding time.

* After each feeding, you belch like a teamster.

*  You saw snow for the first time.  I love holding you in front of the window as you quietly take it all in.

* You looked super fly in your snowsuit:

Your daddy had several snow days off from work, which we spent snuggling with you (and sitting comatose watching Walking Dead when you napped).


* You giggled for the first time when we pretended our hands were spiders.  It was and is the most beautiful sound in the world.

* We hung with Mali and Missy a lot.  Mali and I joked that you will one day be betrothed to her daughter Ruby.

* You LOVE the song "Time to Say Goodbye" by Boccelli and grin whenever I put it on.

* You started to rock at tummy time.

* We stayed an Nana's for a week to help her while she recovered from surgery.  She didn't have curtains up in the guest room, so we had to tape black poster boards over the windows, so you could sleep in darkness.  It was like a boardwalk haunted house in there.

* Daddy and I started to debate the exact color of your eyes.  Brown?  Green?  Blue?  They vary according to the light in the room, although they seem to get muddier each month.


 In March..

* You discovered your feet!

One day, I heard you squealing after a nap and came in to find you chewing on your toes happily.  Even the doctor marveled at how taken you were with them at your vaccine appointment.

* You met a new friend when Kate and her son Harrison came to visit.  You massaged his hair in this picture:

*  Like many other days in March, you were gassy and fussy during my 33rd birthday, so much so that I made a doctor's 'appointment at the end of the day.  I remembered past birthdays when I was wishing and praying for you, feeling so sad.  It made me smile to have you here, fussiness and all.  This birthday I got to sleep in until 10:00 and kiss your chubby cheeks.  During a calm moment, you looked at my giant birthday balloon with awe... and yanked on the ribbon so hard that it unraveled and flew up to the ceiling.

* You stare at the duckies at the park a few blocks from our house in amazement:

Your hair grew even longer:  I got to try out bad ass hairdos.


* You had your first food!  It was strangely disgusting and enticing at the same time:  HERE

* We switched to the $30 tiny can of the Dom Perignon of formula.  The price makes us want to cry, but your fussy spells start to ease immediately.

* I brought you to one of those Mommy and Me, engaging music classes. It sucked. You mouthed a tambourine that probably had just been slobbered on during the class the half hour before ours and reached out and held a little girl's fingers.  When the moms all started singing a version of Old McDonald on speed, you shut that shit down by whimpering, whining, and then yelping.  You spent the rest of the class angrily sucking down a bottle, brows furrowed, to calm down while all the other babies gleefully crawled around you.

* You "opened" your first Easter basket and gift:

An enooooorrrrmooouuuuss exersaucer:

Here is what the Bunny brought you:

A Superman costume:

Some board books to gum:

And a fancy rattle:

Your Mimi, Grampy, and Nana all came for Easter, spoiling you and feeding you and making it so special.  Everyone fought to have their turn kissing your cheeks.

That's just a peek of the past few months, little meatball.  You are so loved.

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