Lighting a Fire Under my Students After Vacation!

     I know it won't be easy for my scholars on the first day back after vacation. First, everybody will be coming off a major sugar high after eating gingerbread cookies and candy all week. Second, these kids will be bravely attempting to sit in the classroom, all the while experiencing the full-on effects of technology withdrawal. I'm sure I'll see some twitching thumbs. And as if those factors aren't bad enough, it's tough to get up early and face the evils of homework again.

    But it will be my responsibility to smile and inspire. I pledge to tame those twitching thumbs!
    To do that, I am going to show students this short motivational video:

       I will ask the kiddos to write down three goals in their writer's notebook. Then, I will ask them to choose the one that will make them the most happy. Typically, students write things like "get an A in math" or "make the basketball team." Next, they'll write down a list of all the things they can do to achieve that goal. When they finish the list, I will tell them to pick one thing that they can do today to get closer to their goal. For example, if Kevin wants to get an A in math, he will have to do  homework; if somebody wants to make a team, practice is in order.

       Their challenge is to keep that one thing in mind all day, and actually tell other people they are going to do it, without giving away their ultimate goal (that is private).  By completing that one thing, they will be taking a small step toward achieving their goal. Reaching a big goal seems much less daunting when a small manageable step can get you closer to it!

       All of this will only take a few minutes, after which we will all write (me included!) an inspiring  poem entitled, My Time to Fly; the template is free at

     If I have time, before school I'll make every student a fortune cookie (email me for the recipe if you'd like it) and it will be a great day back!

     May the new year bring you many "angel-singing" meatball days!


  1. This sounds very exciting! (I would love the fortune cookie recipe if you don't mind

    Teaching Maths with Meaning

    1. Hi Alison,
      The fortune cookie recipe is easy and on its way! Most fortune cookie recipes take a long time and you can only make a few at a time, but this one is made with prepared pie crust, tastes better than "real" fortune cookies, and you can make as many as will fit on a cookie sheet (perfect for a class or party).
      Blessings, laughter, and good fortune in the new year!