The Energy That Comes from “Downtime”

Update for Jan 5-9

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A new year, a new beginning.  This winter break has been a blessing for me because it allowed me the opportunity to take a breath, celebrate what we have accomplished so far, and reflect on how I can continue to improve professionally.

Here’s a quick list of things I noticed or thought about over break:

1. There really is enough time in the day; loads of it. The trick is prioritizing your time.  Little actions can help you prioritize.  For example, I shut off my school email on my phone.  No notifications, no “buzzing”, but it’s there for when I want to read it.  It has made a huge difference in prioritizing my time. I read more, wrote more, listened more, and was able to be in the moment more.

2. It’s okay to think about work. — The “curriculum of life” can lead to creating actual authentic learning experiences for our students. Watching the determination my youngest daughter had to keep ice skating even though she kept falling was inspiring to me. There have been times that I think to myself, “We need to teach kids to be resilient.” Well, guess what?  Kids already are resilient; we just need to connect that resiliency to learning situations.

Just living our lives can help us see connections that you don’t see in a professional development book or in a blog post. Being observant is part of having a what George Couros calls an Innovator’s Mindset (see George Couros’ blog post about this concept).

3. Napping — There is nothing else like it.

4. Maintaining a balance — I kept up my running schedule. I didn’t want to stop just because I am on vacation. In fact, I’ve run more that I ever had before.  I’m learning that I really enjoy the time I spend running. I’ve even started reading a book called Zen and the Art of Running.  Maintaining a balance means keeping time in your life to do the things that bring you joy.  I am learning so much about myself, about being mindful, and about leadership all because I committed to keeping a balance in my day.

5. Reconnecting with family — Enjoying the holidays with my kids has been wonderful.  My oldest daughter is 9 and this year the reality that the holidays will be different as the kids get older really hit me.  I reminded myself that I needed to treasure these moments because they are limited.

Continuously reflecting is something that I continue to develop each day.  “Downtime” has been really beneficial and productive for me and it has helped me to remember to build some downtime into my schedule each day.  

As we start “Act II” of the school year, let’s continue to focus our efforts into discovering what is possible.  Let’s be optimistic about the future! Let’s have the “imagination and bravery” needed to create a learning environment that meets the needs of our kids so that they can become the problem-finders, critical thinkers, and creative learners the world needs.  

When I consider the exponential change that is taking place in the world, I find inspiration in Lincoln’s words:

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.
— Abraham Lincoln, Annual Message to Congress, 1862

Here’s to rising with the occasion and to a great 2015!

Videos that inspire:

This will happen on Monday (extreme frustration and extreme adoration within 2 minutes)

Ideas for reimagining classroom space…

Articles worth reading:

Fresh Eyes

If The Moon Were Only One Pixel: A Tediously Accurate Scale Model of the Solar System


Love this!


Upcoming Dates

Jan 5 —
Online Registration for Kindergarten Begins

Jan 6 —
Building Improvement Team, 8am Media Center
Assessment Meeting (Admins), 1pm

Jan 7 —
Yearbook Picture Day!
Children’s Mathematics Book Talk meeting, 8am Media Center
Gifted Services Meeting (Admins), 10am
Spec Ed Team Meeting, 12:30pm Conference Room
Dr. Marschhausen visit, 12:45pm
ADE Only Staff Meeting, 3:45pm

Jan 8 —
PK-12 Admin Meeting, 8am
Herb’s Admin Data Team mtg, 9:30
Market Day Pick-up, 5:30

Jan 9 —
Newsletter home
Building Advisory Committee, 8am
Staff Get-Together?, 4pm

Jan 12 —
PTO Meeting, 7pm

Jan 13 —
PD Calendar Closed (Limited Subs on these days…)
Teacher Steering Committee, 3:45

Jan 14 —
PD Calendar Closed
Children’s Mathematics Book Talk, 8am Media Center
Parent Committee Meeting, 7pm Bradley HS Aux Commons

Jan 15 —
Band/Orchestra Demo for 5th Grade, 9:15

Jan 16 —
Interims due– Use your licensed professional judgement for this round of interims…

Jan 19 — MLK Day, No School

Jan 20 —
Testing Window Planning Day (Admins, Testing Coordinators), 8am

Jan 21 —
Children’s Mathematics Book Talk, 8am Media Center

Jan 22 —
Admin Meeting, 8am

Jan 26 —
Yearbook Sale Begins

Jan 27 —
Children’s Mathematics Book Talk, 8am Media Center

Jan 28 —
AD/DC Staff Meeting, 3:45

Jan 30 —
Family Game Night, 6:30pm

Team Times with Herb — These could just be one on one conversations, too!  No agenda, just time to catch up and help each other to reflect.  My first question will be, “How can I help you?”

Tuesday, January 6

Wednesday, January 21

Tuesday, February 3

Tuesday, March 3

Wednesday, March 18

Winter Data Team MeetingsPending Approval from Prof Development Dept.

Weds, Jan 28  — 5th Grade (PM)

Thurs, Jan 29 — 1st Grade (AM), 2nd Grade (PM)

Weds, Feb 4 — 3rd Grade (AM), 4th Grade (PM)

Thursday, Feb 5 — KG (PM)

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