Must Follow Education Blog

Even if you don’t like coffee, you need to follow Coffee For The Brain, Aaron Maurer’s blog. Every time a new post is published, I question how he has time for everything. His energy for self improvement is extrodinary! From personal podcasts, book reviews, technology suggestions, and educator challenges, Aaron covers everything that keeps a teacher “living in beta”. His posts always inspire me to go beyond what is comfortable and familiar in my classroom and challenge myself and my students.

Recently, Aaron shared a challenge with our Iowa Teacher Voxer group. He is asking educators to share a quick idea (five minutes or less) that helps us or gives us an edge during the day. His examples include:

  • “Teaching – these ideas could be on learning targets, checking for understanding, assessments, tools, tech, classroom management, PBL, STEM, etc.
  • Life – these ideas could be on mindfulness, balance, productivity, art, creativity, relaxing, etc.”

While I plan to contribute an idea this week, I’m asking teachers who read my blog to also send Aaron a suggestion that works in your life. Challenge yourself to share! Through Aaron, your ideas will help so many others. While you’re at it, follow his blog so you can benefit from the ideas other people share during March.

25 Day Challenge 

Booked: Spring Break

IMG_0441The countdown for spring break was on before our tickets were even purchased! This year, John is staying behind to care for his patients while I soak up the Arizona heat with a friend. As much as John wanted to get away, we knew early on that the timing wouldn’t work for him to be away from the hospital in March.

Thankfully, another teacher is up for a desert adventure. We’re looking forward to pool time, great shopping, delicious restaurants, and cold drinks. I told her I can’t wait for it to be hot enough to drink an iced coffee while sweating. It’s the little things!

As for leaving John behind, no worries. I’ll FaceTime him. Just Kidding! I’m planning a great summer trip for the two of us! Stay tuned.

Jodi Picoult Books

Jodi Picoult is an author I recommend to my female students. Her books are realistic, easy to follow, and always include a mind-blowing twist. Since I most recently finished Leaving Time, I decided to rate my favorite Jodi Picoult books and list them in order. If you’ve never read one, start at the top of this list.

If you recommend one not currently on my list, let me know!

  1. Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 8.33.52 PMNineteen Minutes
  2. The Storyteller
  3. The Pact
  4. Change of Heart
  5. My Sister’s Keeper
  6. Sing you Home
  7. Leaving Time

Lucky 13

IMG_0569After spending the last few weekends at EdCamp and the IF Gathering, I was pretty excited for time with my valentine. In the midst of helping my brother and sister-in-law move “back home”, John and I fit in moments of time to spoil each other for our 13th Valentine’s Day together.

We even had time to enjoy a Guinness at Bill’s with Tony and Ashley on their last night living in town. Cheers to a new chapter! We couldn’t be happier for the three of you!

Thanks to my Valentine for spending the calendar day of love helping our extended family.

The Girl You Left Behind

17572903This book is unique because it goes back and forth from current time to 1916. It follows one woman from both centuries with a shared piece of history.  The Girl You Left Behind is by JoJo Moyes, better known for her novel Me Before You (now a motion picture).

Goodreads Summary:

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.

Even though the book isn’t packed with action, the descriptions made me want to keep reading. I’ve read so much young adult literature lately that I enjoyed how well this was written.

If you haven’t read a JoJo Moyes book, add her to your list.

IF Gathering

IMG_0545“IF God is real…then we want more than anything to live like it.”

My friend Sara invited me to attend a two-day Christian women’s retreat over the weekend. It was held at her church in Iowa City and more than 200 women attended at that site! The IF Gathering actually took place in Austin, TX, but it was live streamed to over 1,500 locations all over the world.

Testimonies, worship, reflection, and group discussions were all a part of the weekend. Here are a few of my favorite quote takeaways from the weekend that related to the women’s witness IMG_0557talks.

“Faith does not demand God always explain himself.”

“You want God to be good in the day. You find out He is in the night.”

“The call of God is inconvenient.”

“When we feed our faith, we starve our doubts.”

I was surprised at the amount of young women in attendance at our site as well as the women who were leading it. Sometimes I find it hard to see such strong faiths in young people, but this weekend introduced me to plenty who have hearts on fire for God.

A few women you should be following on twitter include:

  • Christine Caine: @ChristineCaine
  • Jen Hatmaker: @JenHatmaker
  • Jennie Allen: @JennieAllen
  • Bianca Olthoff: @biancaolthoff

Exactly where I’m supposed to be

2ca601f398a8ccce986532e46ccf9b49I’ve become a better teacher because I’ve realized that sometimes the best lessons students learn mean scratching the day’s lesson plans. Sometimes an opportunity presents itself to teach skills that are not located in the curriculum. As I continue to teach, I realize these moments make students into the people God intended. I’ve learned He put me there to assist in those moments. For that reason, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.