Jonathan Weinstein

Foster a sense of community for your students.

Building a Learning Community All Year

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

This blog post is based on the book EMPOWER Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience.

How do you build community in class?

Sometimes we do activities designed solely for community building, such as filling out bingo boards with each other’s names (“Find a classmate who was born in another state.”), interviewing each other (“What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?”), bringing in pictures or artifacts for show-and-tell, or creating a class handshake. Usually we do these kinds of activities early in the year; we want to ease into the school year and get to know a little bit about who’s in the room before starting our schoolwork. Read more

How teachers can bring self-care into the new school year

Summer Self-Care All Year Long

Categories: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Do you have a way of living during the summer that’s different from the rest of the year?

We do. We spend time outside grilling and going for walks. We read more books. We get in a nap while our children are off at their summer activities, we see friends more often, and we get more writing done than in any other season. And it’s not just us. We have a friend, a seventh grade English teacher who’s also a mixed-media artist, whose summer days mostly involve gluing unicorns to painted canvases. Another teacher friend spent one summer road-tripping from New York to Panama. Many teachers catch up on professional development, reading articles they’ve been saving, and if their school budgets allow, attending summer institutes. And because our profession is not the most lucrative, we know plenty of teachers who have temporary summer jobs—but they too go might into summer mode during their afternoons, evenings, and weekends.

What is it about summer that allows us to live so fully? More to the point, what is it about September that stops us? Read more