Last week I was honored to be the guest contributor for the Sunday Seven newsletter by Dave Burgess Consulting Books Inc. I had a great time thinking about seven things that I am really excited about right now. Hope you will enjoy my Top 7!
Lori’s Sunday Seven: January 24, 2021
1. Creativity Boost
I am fascinated with people and their personal journeys. There is something inspiring about understanding the steps people have taken to arrive at their success. So, I read lots of books that allow me to see things from a new perspective. I am currently reading Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar Animation and president of Disney Animation. I am a huge Disney fan, so this book is extra special. I am finding ways to boost my own creativity and learning more about how the author builds a creative culture in his organizations. This is a great reminder of how we need to include innovation and creativity in our classrooms and schools!
2. Comfort Food
Cooking is one of my favorite things to do. Trying new recipes or whipping up an old favorite helps me relax and feel accomplished. I have so many cookbooks, but I have to say that right now I am a huge fan of Joanna Gaines. Her cookbooks, Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering and Magnolia Table Volume 2 are perfect when you just need a little comfort food. Her Chicken Spaghetti has quickly become a family favorite. It is so fattening I gain 2 pounds just thinking about it, but it is so yummy. Anytime you have heavy cream, cheese, and cream cheese all in the same dish… you know you are in for something amazing! When my family needs a little something warm and comfy, Joanna seems to have just the right recipe.
3. Making Sense of Things
This past year has been tough. All of us can relate to the toll the pandemic has had on us emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was talking with a friend not too long ago and she explained her mental state in a way that made total sense to me. She said, “You know when you get home with your groceries and you don’t want to make extra trips to the house so you carry everything you can at once. Then you grab one more, small item and you drop the whole load. That’s how I feel every single day. It is too much and the small things seem to cause me to fall apart.” Isn’t that the truth. Things that would never bother us in “normal times” like forgetting a password, or an email from a parent with a question seems to push us right off the side of a cliff. The situation my friend explained is really the struggle between Survival Brain and Learning Brain. I found a very helpful video from Dr. Jacob Ham that helps us as educators understand trauma and simple ways we can move ourselves and our students from Survival Brain to Learning Brain. This has been such a great reminder that our feelings are valid and we are truly still living in survival mode. Understanding Trauma: Learning Brain vs. Survival Brain
4. Give My Regards to Broadway
We all have hobbies and unique things that bring us joy. I am a Broadway musical girl! I love all kinds of music, but a rousing Broadway anthem or a fast-paced dance number take me away from my crazy life and transports me to another time or place. I do love escapism! One of the things I miss most right now is going to New York City and seeing live theatre. My heart goes out to the talented artists and crew members that are without work because of the pandemic. A great organization helping those onstage and behind the scenes get some assistance is Broadway Cares. It is my charity of choice for helping Broadway folks.
Just for kicks, here are just a few of my top Broadway Musicals:
- Little Shop of Horrors
- Mamma Mia
- Kiss Me, Kate
- Legally Blonde
5. Listening, Learning, Laughing: Podcasts
There are so many enlightening and entertaining podcasts right now. I am here for all of them! Whether I need some teaching tips, comedy, or something to challenge my thinking… podcasts have become one of my go-to resources. Here are a few of my favorites:
- The Classroom Collaborative with Adam Peterson and Deedee Wills: My good friends Adam and Deedee have a fun and helpful podcast discussing all things teaching! It is a great one for elementary teachers.
- Smartless with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett: This is a perfect one when I want to laugh. They interview fun guests and their banter is priceless.
- Unlocking Us by Brene Brown: I go to this podcast when I want to think deeply. I especially enjoyed one of the recent episodes featuring neuroscientist, David Eagleman, discussing how the brain works. Fascinating!
- Nice White Parents: This is a five-part series discussing the history of public schools. I found it really interesting and pondered how we can make needed changes to our system of education.
6. My Project Based Life
“If they live it, they will learn it, and they will love it!” This is the mantra I have been following for almost 30 years as a teacher. I realized very quickly in my teaching career, that the more students “live” the content and apply it in real world situations, they will learn it at a deeper level and they will love the process and results. I talk about this idea throughout my latest book, Project Based Learning Anywhere. Another thing that I have found to be true is life is about projects. We are constantly moving from one project to the next as adults. Whether we are tackling how to fix our garbage disposal, planning a vacation, creating a budget, or building a new house… we live in a project based world. If we can reflect on our own project based learning in our personal lives, I think we can begin to see how to provide students with project based learning experiences in the classroom or virtually. So, I have decided to document my own Project Based Learning Life in 2021 on my blog. As I tackle projects big and small, I am going to share my journey. I want to reflect on the steps and results of each of the projects and apply those lessons to my teaching, life, and work with other educators. I hope you will join me on my PBL adventure!
7. My People
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” – Saint Teresa of Calcutta
This quote really speaks to me. I am so grateful for the people in my life that support me, make me laugh, cry with me, and speak truth to me. I have a wonderful husband of almost 34 years, two amazing adult children and an incredible daughter in love. I am one proud mama! Teaching is exhausting and can seem to take up all of our time. We often feel overwhelmed and our personal life takes a backseat to our professional life. This quote reminds me of what is important. I started many years ago to set boundaries on my time and energy. These boundaries have served as guardrails to keep me balanced so I can be my best for not only the profession I love, but for the people who matter most in my life. There are times when one requires more time and energy than the other, but knowing if I want to change the world, I have to take time to just go home and love my people… seems to always put things back into the right perspective.