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The Feed

I love starting the year off building strong communication with students and parents! One of the ways I begin building a joyful classroom culture is through my postcards to students! Before open house, while students are enjoying summer break, I sent home a fun postcard (like the one below from Amazon). I write a simple message to the students about how excited I am to meet them. Instead of simply signing my name, I cover my name with a scratch off sticker to add a little mystery! Plus, who doesn't love a scratch off sticker?! It makes meeting students at Open House so much more fun and builds the connection in a small way! If you click the pictures below, it will take you straight to Amazon! :)




I also enjoy sending home a Get to Know the Teacher Letter during Open House when I first meet students and parents. It typically has some simple facts about me, my intentions for the year, and a photo! To make the letter extra special, my partner teacher and I recorded a read aloud of, "Tomorrow I'll Be Brave," to help students get ready for the first day of school. Overall, it's an easy way to share a little about yourself and beginning building strong communication. Click the picture below to make your own copy of my template if this is your vibe!



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The Stormy Sea

Before you lead anyone, the first person you must lead effectively is you. It seems so obvious, right?

Unfortunately, there are too many of us walking around each and every day without true knowledge of the power we possess to become the best leaders we can be.

How do I know that? Because I see people who are constantly self-deprecating. People who walk around purposeless. People who simply react to life instead of LIVING life. People who are constantly worried about what other people will think if they choose to step boldly and lead. Now, I don't think people purposely do try to self-sabatage , but I DO think people get caught up in comparing themselves to others instead of running their own race. But can I share some truth with you? You have ONE life to live. You deserve to live it fully and while embracing all parts of who you are. You are truly capable of being a catalyst for change. Leadership requires us to do the challenging work of being vulnerable, reflecting on our mistakes, and OWNING these mistakes. It takes being accountable and having integrity. Are you ready for that? If so, keep reading. I am offering two ways I feel that you can begin your journey of leading yourself well.


1. Clean Up Your Mind Garden

Just a few weeks ago, I found out I was accepted into an aspiring assistant principals program. At first, i was thrilled but soon imposter syndrome and feelings of self-doubt kicked in full throttle. I felt I was too young and too inexperienced to ever be seen as worthy enough for this new job. Imposter syndrome had a very tight grip on me and I was constantly getting in my own way. Thankfully, other leaders around me saw something in me that I could never see in myself. From that moment on, I let go of self-doubt. I let go of the chains in my mind that made me believe I was not enough or that I was not capable of doing great things. And when I did that, friend...let me tell you my life CHANGED because my mindset changed.


It all started with making the personal CHOICE to create a space in my mind that would grow positive and growth minded thoughts. I chose to make my mind a GARDEN, intentionally ripping those weeds of doubt and feelings of unworthiness. It is a power that you have to practice each and every day; a promise to yourself that you strive for progress not perfection. So, the first step in self-leadership is working on cleaning up your mind. When you catch yourself doubting, devaluing yourself, or comparing your journey to others...acknowledge it and ask yourself why. Why am I thinking this? Naming and recognizing your feelings in the moment and determining where it stems from is the first step towards building your emotional intelligence, which by the way, is a powerful tool to have when being in a leadership position. Understanding your own emotions better will help you to do the same in those you lead. But it has to start with you! Figure out why you are feeling the feelings and then move on! Don't let that cloud of negativity hang over your head; learn from it and move on. Your mind is a garden. Give yourself permission to plant seeds of greatness and to allow light in.


2. Know Your Core Values

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. Have you ever heard that quote, "Stand for nothing, fall for everything?" Well, I think this reigns true in all aspects of your life: personal, professional, relationships, etc. If you do not know what you believe in, what energizes you, or what your values are, then how do you expect to show up authentically as a leader? Leaders do exceptionally well when it comes to empowering those around them to buy into the mission, vision, and core values of the organizations they lead; however, they must first master the trade of practicing what they preach within their personal lives. Your core values are truly how you naturally show up in spaces, in relationships, and in your daily actions. Your values help you to make decisions in tough times and give you a real sense of purpose.


For me personally, I value joy and gratitude. These two values are my beliefs, yes, but it is also how I show up in my leadership. For example, because I am someone who chooses joy, when I go into meetings I want to connect first. I want to ask you about that new show you are watching, or perhaps the new book you are reading! Because I know what I value, it is going to change my behavior and how I lead others intentionally and also authentically. When you commit to living out your values, people are going to begin to know you heart as a person and as a leader. THAT is where pure leadership MAGIC happens! Your values act as a guidepost that inadvertently lets others know that you are a safe person to go to when they need support, encouragement, or when they have a crazy good ideas they want to share. When my friends or colleagues need someone to hype them up with positive energy, they come to me because I have made it my mission to ensure that people feel that when they are around me. Your core values truly become the "vibe" and energy you give off...and let me CAUTION you...people can sniff out when you are being inauthentic. So do not try to be someone you are NOT! Be YOU, embrace YOU, and understand that YOU are enough.



Leadership is a never ending journey of learning and growing. I am never going to have a day in my life where I finally reach the top of a mountain and think I know it all! Leadership is as much about growing yourself as it is empowering others. By cleaning up your mind and knowing your core values, you are going to be a leader who is authentic, intentional, confident, and emotionally resilient. It is time for you to step out of the shadow and into the light, friend! You were not created to be mediocre, you were created to change the world right where you are. I am rooting for you every step of the way!


xoxo,

Catherine




GROWTH ACTIVITY ALERT!


Here's your first leadership homework assignment: Create a Core Values visual for yourself by choosing 2-3 values from Brene Brown's list of values below.


**I am posting a DOCUMENT at the end of this post with questions that go along with activity. If you want to learn even more about core values, consider reading Brene Brown's book Dare to Lead.**


1. Start by choosing 10-12 values from the list.

2. Then, go down to your top 5 values

3. Finally, narrow your list down to your top 1-3 core values that you feel most represents what aligns to your beliefs the most.

4. Create a visual (make it CREATIVE) and be sure to add your values to this image. Add pictures, quotes, leaders who inspire you, and other media to make your visual unique to you.


Post your visual somewhere you will see it everyday to serve as your reminder of WHO you are, WHAT you believe, and HOW you can make intentional choices to show up authentically each and every day!


If you do this activity, please be sure to tag me on social media (Instagram) @whimsyinelementary.


I'd love to feature you on my feed!




22_0120-Values-Document-BBbrandedUU
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Download PDF • 364KB

Two words: TEACHER. TIRED.

Six words: END.OF. THE. YEAR .TEACHER .TIRED.


There's a difference!


May is that time of the year where we may see an increase in undesirable student behavior. Despite all the efforts that you as a teacher have put in, there are some things our of our control like: state testing, schedule changes, end of year parties and other activities, and the mere fact that students are READY for summer break. However, it is important to continue utilizing our morning meetings to build community and reinforce positive behaviors. One way I LOVE doing this is by using picture books! One of my all time favorite reads is "Taste Your Words" by author Bonnie Clark. In this book, the main character struggles to use her words to spread positivity. Throughout the story, she learns that words have POWER and that our words can hurt, heal, and be used for GOOD. This FREE read aloud is linked below!


I have created an interactive read aloud lesson using a sticky note template. All you have to do is PRINT AND GO! Never used sticky note templates before? I found a tutorial on how to print sticky note templates and posted the link to the website below for directions.


After completing this read aloud, I had my students do a BEAN BOOZLED TASTE TEST! These jelly beans come in all sorts of DELICIOUS and DISGUSTING flavors. This was definitely a core memory lesson and helped my students to LITERALLY taste some YUMMY flavors (positive words) and NASTY flavors (unkind words). You can find these Jelly Belly beans at Five Below or online!


*This blog contains an affiliate link to Amazon! I receive a small commission if you use the link below. I appreciate your support!


TASTE YOUR WORDS READ ALOUD
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Download ODP • 1.35MB





















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