News Archive
Empowering Our Girls
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*This is the second of a two part blog post.

 

It’s not a big secret that diversity in the world of children’s literature could certainly be better.  For years now, teachers, parents, and librarians have said that we need more mirror and window books in our schools and homes.  “Window” and “mirror” books are those that we can see characters like ourselves (mirror) in but also take a peek into the lives of other genders, races, and ethnicities (window).  There are lots of research and articles surrounding this cause and even a campaign entitled #WeNeedDiverseBooks that has launched on the internet and social media. I have a passion for this cause and wrote my graduate thesis on gender roles in award winning children’s lit.  And while female characters may have increased slightly, there is still a serious drought for multicultural books.  My last post shared 10 new releases to celebrate powerful and strong African-Americans (and most were about women!) but there’s more for you and your students!  Let’s break it down.

Taking down the gender stereotype, one book at a time!

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I was already a HUGE fan of Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty.  Rosie Revere is the story of a young female engineer a la Rosie the Riveter, who inspires young females to follow their passion and their love for creating (the engineering field is also lacking female representation… but that’s another post for another day).  But this September, Beaty will do it again with Ada Twist, Scientist, a curious African-American girl who embarks on a fact-finding mission while conducting scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery!  “Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie, Ada has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose?  When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. But, this time, her experiments lead to trouble.”

Not only do I love to see strong female characters in literature, but I also love to see the “typical male” careers being portrayed by young girls!  We need more girls in the fields of math, science, and technology and allowing them to read these mirror books will surely plant that seed!

 

#SquadGoals

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I hope you are familiar with GoldieBlox, the construction sets that allow girls to tap into their spatial skills by giving them the tools to create and invent on their own!  “In a world where men largely outnumber women in science, technology, engineering and math, girls lose interest in these subjects as early as age 8.  Construction toys develop an early interest in these subjects, but for over a hundred years, they’ve been considered “boys’ toys.” GoldieBlox is determined to change the equation. We aim to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers.”  Goldie even has her own collection of children’s lit that aims towards encouraging girls to enter into STEM careers.

GoldieBlox herself is a wild-eyed blonde inventor and engineer who embraces her quirky side, but now she has a new best friend in tow.  Ruby Rails is a spirited programmer and software engineer (and prize-winning photographer) who can write code faster than you can say “computer”.  She was released in 2015 and is “more than just a sidekick“.  She is the strong African-American protagonist that is helping solve the representation problem.

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“In the hundreds of action movies that hit theaters every year, we see the same type of person saving the day: a big, buff, scowling man.  In movies across the board – G-rated, family films included – male speaking characters outnumber female speaking characters three to one.  It’s been almost twenty-five years since we’ve had a top grossing live action film that was led by woman of color. Our girls deserve action heroes with flowing hair and combat boots. Our girls deserve to see themselves onscreen as well as calling the shots behind the scenes. Our girls deserve more. #playlikeahero  Click here to watch the full campaign.

And yes, GoldieBlox also has a male friend too!  His name is Li and he’s a risk-taker and physicist.  You can read all about him and the rest of Goldies squad here.

 

#1000BlackGirlBooks

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Marley Dias is a pretty cool girl (pictured above in red).  As an 11 year old, she realized that she was unable to connect with the books that her teacher was giving her to read.  She said that most books were about “white boys and their dogs”, and it was extremely frustrating for her.  So she started the book drive #1000BlackGirlBooks in order to collect 1,000 books with positive black female protagonists!  She then plans to donate them to Retreat Primary and Junior School and Library in Jamaica, where her mother grew up.  Pretty awesome, huh?

Click here to see her full news segment and to see how you can participate and donate to her cause!

 

So, there you have it!  I hope that this combination of resources and literature will help encourage you to give your students the best opportunities to see all stereotypes squashed and representation of all cultures and genders in your classroom!  Your girls need it to start with YOU!

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Teaching Magic Interview
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I’m so excited to have been interviewed by Sheila over at Teaching Magic!  She is such a doll and our conversation was so wonderful! I was a little nervous to be interviewed, but Sheila could not have been nicer and made me feel so comfortable  –  like we were just chatting over coffee!

I talked a lot about starting a business, the product line, my life in the classroom, and the Teacher Anchor™!  I also gave lots of peeks into the new Teacher Anchor™ and discussed how I used it in my own classroom and how you can use it now.  Most importantly I talked about my journey as a teacher.  The things that pulled me down in the beginning of my career (burnout, negativity, trying to “do it all”) and how setting boundaries and focusing really got me back to my passion in the classroom.  I also talked about the purpose and the intention behind my products, specifically the Anchor – also my favorite moment in the classroom EVER and why I don’t want a meal planner in my lesson planner – ha!  I don’t want to spoil it, so tune in to see the whole interview here.

Thanks again Sheila for such a great conversation!  You are destined for big things, I just know it and I can’t wait to watch your journey.  And anytime in the future, I’ll graciously be a guest on your show!

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The Reason for the Season

So the blog has been quiet lately because I am the one woman shipping department of C. Jayne Teach.  I was blown away by how many of you ordered from the shop this holiday season and I am so grateful for your support.  That being said though, I neglected the blog while I wrapped up my Methods course I was teaching this semester and got your pretty packages out the door to you for the holidays!  But I’m back today to share a special morning that I had at my former elementary school today.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by our friends at 4Moms to see if I wanted to play “Secret Santa” this year.  Of course I was all in!  As a teacher (and now as a mom) this is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the holiday songs, the bustle in the air, the Christmas cookies and crafts, and the celebrations with friends and family.  But I also make a conscious effort to truly celebrate the reason for the season and give as much as we can to others each year.  I always wanted my students to understand the lesson of giving most of all and to do this we always participated in some type of community service – be it an Angel tree or school supply drive or even making cards for the local nursing home.  I have some of the most special memories from my time as a teacher, doing these types of projects with my students.  And through your support of the C. Jayne Teach shop, I’ve been able to continue to do these types of projects still!  One of my favorite things to do is to make anonymous donations through Donorschoose.org and help teachers get the supplies and support they need in the classroom.

So let me back up for a minute and tell you a bit about 4Moms.  They are a company that believes in better.  They create the most amazing infant and children’s products that are not only visually beautiful but practical and simple for parents (especially new parents) to use.  When I was expecting Lincoln, my mom and dad gifted me the Origami and the MamaRoo.  As a first time mom, these two products helped make my transition into mommyhood so much smoother.  The MamaRoo was where Lincoln napped during the day for the first 4 months of his life.  It not only allowed me to have my hands free to clean, do laundry, and cook dinner but it also allowed for me to get some rest myself because he slept so soundly in it.  The Origami was so easy to use as we took our daily walks on the Greenway and to the zoo.  I had new moms stopping me everywhere asking me about it and how they could get one!  And since we travel so much to see our family back in Ohio, we had to have the Breeze.  It has made our lives infinitely easier after a long drive home with a very sleepy little guy.  When we get to our parents house, it took approximately 4.5 seconds to set it up and lay down our little babe and he was back out.  The peace of mind all of their products has brought us is worth every single penny.

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The best part though?  4Moms is a company that gives back.  Their 4Moms Cares program gives away one MamaRoo A WEEK and donates countless others to NICU’s around the country.  In addition, they are constantly donating their products to non-profit organizations as well.  They are a company that I am so proud to support and have had the pleasure of getting to know their staff.  So again, I was honored when they asked if I wanted to participate in giving away a Breeze to someone special.  And I knew just the person…

Ms. Maria is our school custodian at the elementary school I spent the last 4 years at.  She is one of the hardest working people I know.  During my time as a teacher, she constantly supported me throughout numerous classroom moves, plenty of sick students, and both an engagement and a pregnancy (I got engaged at school and Ms. Maria unlocked the door to let Eric into the building to fill my classroom with flowers before school started… and when I was expecting, she helped me pack up my classroom and lift those heavy boxes).  She is a special person to me and I think about her often.  She is currently expecting a baby this spring and I knew how much she deserved the Breeze.  So Lincoln and I headed to school today to do a little holiday gifting!

When we got to school I told her I had something for her.  I brought her down to a vacant classroom where I had the Breeze box.  She was overwhelmed with emotion when she saw it, thanking me for thinking of her and graciously accepting it.  But I told her it wasn’t like a normal “playyard” that’s tricky to use and hard to set up.  Once I showed her how easy and simple it was to use, she was speechless!  Even Lincoln helped us show her what a great product it is!

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Seeing the joy in Ms. Maria’s face and knowing how happy her family and her new baby will be with this product totally made my year.  I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of such a fun donation and I was even happier that Lincoln was able to be there too.  I want him to truly understand the reason for the season and although he may not “get it” yet, I hope that one day I’m able to show him these photos and share with him the wonderful feelings we feel when we give to others.

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I want to thank 4Moms for all of their generosity and I want you encourage you to go out and help make someone’s day.  There are lots of ways you can celebrate the season and I’d love to hear some of them!  Hearing stories of others demonstrating compassion and giving just puts a huge smile on my face too.

I wish you and yours the most joyous of holiday seasons this year.  Thank you so much for supporting my little site and shop this year.  I hope to continue to give back and share joy with others!

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[Oh and did you notice the sweet little face on the homepage of the MamaRoo?  Yes, that’s our little Lincoln.  He did some modeling for 4Moms last winter… he doesn’t even look like the same baby!  Also 4Moms did not compensate me in any way for this post.  All opinions are my own.]

Clear October

First up, big hugs to Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher!  She’s showing you how to use one of the anecdotal notepads from the shop and is giving one away too!  So head on over and enter!

Now on to something else that’s been on my mind: multitasking.  I’ve written about it before and I’m going to recap a bit again, but also discuss some new thoughts as well, including my Clear October list.

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Lately I haven’t been blogging much because I’ve been focusing on preparing for my next course to start (I teach at a local University).  This weekend, we had a lot to do.  Lincoln had a fall festival at school, I wanted to read some articles and go visit the library to do some research, I was planning on meeting up with some other teacher bloggers for the evening, and I hadn’t seen my husband all week because he was traveling.  Not to mention, I wanted to blog and focus on ordering some holiday things for the C. Jayne Teach shop.  Of course, I tried to multitask.  I was reading articles at the library and texting people to meet up.  I was hanging out with Eric and Lincoln at the festival, but my mind was on the shop orders and that’s when it hit me.  Stop trying to multitask.  It doesn’t exist and you know that.

See, I hate the word multitasking.  I always have.  I made this graphic above feel very dreamy because I think that’s what “multitasking” is.  A dream that we imagine ourselves in, doing everything at once and doing it well because isn’t that the only way we’ll be a good ____ (mom, teacher, spouse, friend, etc).  As a teacher I always felt like this was something that not only existed but something I had to be good at.  I had to run a small group, while talking to a student on the side, all while answer a parent email.  And I actually tried that!  We all know how I reformed my email policy, but even after that, I still “multitasked”.  But I really wasn’t.  Because it doesn’t exist.  You cannot do two things (or more) at once.  You are either doing one thing or another.  I was either giving my attention to the students in my small group or I wasn’t.  I was either teaching a lesson or answering an email.  I was either collaborating with a colleague or checking Pinterest.  Or in the case of this past weekend, I was either spending time with my family or I wasn’t.  Seriously.  You. can. not. do. both.

It wasn’t until I heard Lara Casey say this exact statement to me last October that I realized, it was okay to feel this way.  At some point of trying to do multiple things at once, your attention and focus have to shift.  As a teacher and now as a mom, I’ve had to realize that I have to devote my attention to one thing at a time.  When I am playing with Lincoln, I am not answering email.  I am not scrolling Facebook or Instagram.  I am not talking on the phone.  I am being present as his mama.  Sure, there are times when he plays by himself and I talk to my sister on the phone or I scroll through my Insta-feed.  But I recognize that I’m doing one thing and he is doing another.  Regardless of your role, teacher-parent-administrator-spouse, don’t you want to be present in that role and be great in that role?  I do.  This was a big a-ha moment for me once I realized that the “multitasking” had to stop.  But especially in the classroom, I think we tend to feel like it we don’t try to multitask, then we’ll never “get it all done” – right?  Let’s try to sort that out here and now.

Focus

This month, Lara is talking about Clear October (go follow her on Instagram @laraacasey – she’s such a light and inspiration in my life).  She’s focusing on those things that help “clear” your life this month.  I know, you have a million things to do and a million things running through your brain at once (at least if you’re like me you do).  But I’ve had to make a conscious effort to focus, both now and during my time in the classroom.  What I found was that when I was trying to do a bunch of things at the same time, none of it was done well.  When I stopped and focused on just one thing at a time, I realized that I was able to (for example) finish the small group more efficiently, meet the needs of my students, and still have time to plan for our next meeting.  The same thing happened after I established my email policy.  When I wasn’t trying to hastily write an email in between a math and a science lesson, I was able to concentrate and compose a more thoughtful and meaningful email to the parent or colleague.  My students also knew that I would only be doing one thing at a time.  I had implemented an “ask 3 then ask me” rule, so that if they had a question when I was speaking with another student or another adult, they had to ask three other friends to find the answer first.  If they still needed to speak to me, they had to wait until I was available.  After about a week or two of turning them away when I was busy, they got the hang of it.  It also made each question they had to ask me meaningful and purposeful.

So in the spirit of #clearOctober, I’m making my clear list.  Things I’m going to focus on and dedicate time to.

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[Image by Lindsey Ocker Photography.  (List by me)  Her prints and photography are AMAZING.  Go go go check her out.]

My challenge to you is to make your own #clearOctober list and join in Lara’s movement.  And take time this month to re-focus on what is right in front of you.  Most of you are on fall break now or will be soon, so use this as a re-charge.  And don’t be too hard on yourself.  We all have moments, especially as educators and moms when we feel like we need to “multitask”.  But next time you get the urge, take a deep breath and focus.  Happy Clear October!

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Fired Up Fridays: Go team!

This weekend we’re headed back to OH-IO to cheer on the Buckeyes as they beat play Wisconsin.  I haven’t been to a game since I lived in Columbus, which was six years ago, so I’m super excited!

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Nothing fires me up like being back home in Ohio, visiting family and friends, and having fun surrounded by college football fans.  Not to mention a bunch of our college friends will be there plus two of my very best friends – yay!  I can’t wait!  Plus I’ll be bringing my very own Go Buckeye’s spirit tray to the tailgate to serve lots of fun snacks on!

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Is there anything better than fall + cooler weather + the college football atmosphere to light your heart on fire?  I don’t think so!  Here’s to a great weekend and a big W!

PS: Follow along on my Instagram @cjayneteach to see all of the fun!

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