Posts Tagged ‘pernille ripp’

What I learned from ‘Unshakeable’

I began gearing up for my Summer Reading plans in May and wanted to get a bunch of professional books that I could read. I have a huge list on Goodreads but wanted something special to read, so I reached out.

Pernille Ripp is an influential teacher and person to me. Her book, ‘Passionate Learners’ changed my entire viewpoint as a teacher. You can check out my blog post about her book ‘Passionate Learners’ here and her other book ‘Empowered Schools, Empowered Students’ here.

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I had never heard of ‘Unshakable’ but I went online and ordered it right away.


This is what I learned from Angela Watson’s ‘Unshakeable.

  • Bring your personality into your classroom. We are all unique so share with your students what you are passionate about and what you love. If you share your true self with students, you will have a better time in the classroom and create a stronger bond with your students.
  • Be present. At school with your students or when you are completing your work. Don’t watch T.V. while you mark papers because you will be doing it all night long. Focus on marking and allot yourself a specific amount of time to truly focus. In the classroom don’t multitask. Listening and look at your students, be involved. The work can wait.
  • Make lists of what you need to complete daily. I find this so important for me. If I don’t write it down on a list, I will forget about it. Writing my to-do’s on a list will ensure that they get done, even if I’m procrastinating completing them.
  • Prepare for the morning to make it less stressful. Next year I’m going to pick out what I’m going to wear the night before. I find I get stressed by this decision and it makes me frazzled and I just grab whatever to wear. When I look better, I feel better so I will make time for that.
  • Make a positive impression with parents on the first day of school or before. Call or leave a message introducing yourself, your contact information, and Meet the Teacher night info. This will start a positive relationship from day one.
  • No more complaining or listening to complaining. Change the subject or walk away. This year is going to be positive.
  • I need to create a personal and classroom vision statement.
  • Let the students discover why you are teaching a certain lesson. Why do you need to know this now?
  • Have fun! Create a classroom music playlist with your students. Dance, and be silly.
  • Students and teachers both need down time throughout the day. Plan to have downtime worked into your schedule. If you are feeling drained, your students are too.
  • Teach and reteach routines and procedures. It’s good for the teacher as well as the students to know exactly what to do. If there are changes to the routine, write them on the board.

Obviously from this list I learned a lot. I really encourage all teachers to buy and read this book. I will definitely look at this book for inspiration and for resources for years to come.

New Goals for a New Year

I’ve been struggling this year. It’s my second year teaching grade 1 and I thought it would simpler. Now I have some Grade 2’s, I’m at a different school, and I have 25 very busy and chatty students. I find this year so different than last year and I’m having a really difficult time with it.

I was inspired by Pernille Ripp and Kathy Cassidy this past summer to start the year using devices, to have students blog, to show our learning, to skype, and for my students to lead the learning but it hasn’t happened.

It took forever to get working computers in my class, my class is so loud and my students still are not into routine.

I have felt defeated and like I’m lying about all these amazing ideas I have for the classroom but I cannot put them into effect yet.

I was reading Twitter last week and came across this tweet from George Couros.

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It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. Learning is: social, making connections, asking questions, about creating, everyone is a teacher and learner.

Here is a great visual by Sylvia Ducksworth.


I’m going to start the new year off differently. I’m going to start units off by asking my students what questions they have about the topic. Then I will create the plan from there.

A new goal for a new year.

Let’s choose to believe

Pernille Ripp shared a list of books that her students loved and being a huge fan of Pernille’s, I added them directly into my to-read pile. I recently received “Flora and Ulysses” by Kate Dicamillo, one of the books shared by Pernille, and I had to begin reading it right away.

It is a quick, fun and extremely quirky read. One of the quotes in the book really got to me. “…believe it. There is much more beauty in the world if I believe such a thing is possible.”

As educators we have to deal with the harsh reality of being a teacher sometimes. Too much work, too many students, too many needs, and it never stops. But let’s turn it around. Let’s believe in the beauty and the possibility in the world but more importantly in our classrooms and in our students. Think of the changes we could make.

Creating a board expertise database

Currently, I’m reading “Empowered Schools, Empowered Students” by Pernille Ripp.


One idea that really stuck me as genius is creating an easily accessible and updatable expertise list of current staff within our board. We have a brilliant staff that is committed to being the best teachers they can be by constantly attending professional development and implementing their learnings in their own classrooms. Why don’t we poll our staff at our board, create a document that can be shared and then we will have experts in many different fields at our disposal. This will also cost the board less since they won’t have to waste time and money searching out experts when we already work for them!

How to do this:

Create a google form with sections for: Name, School, email address, and checklist of expertise that they have with an ‘other’ section for people to add to it. Share with the entire board and get everyone to answer it.

Then share the completed list with the entire board so people can search for an expert they are looking for on a particular topic. It would also be helpful if the board would pay for release time for the ‘expert’ to go and speak at a school or staff meeting.

Wondering how I can use ‘Passionate Learners’ with my Grade 1 class…

So this summer, I read Pernille Ripp’s ‘Passionate Learners.’ See my post all about it here. A wonderful book and something that I completely agree with and want to try out.

BUT…I’m teaching Grade 1 next year. In Pernille’s book, she states that her students (grade 5’s) already know how to do school but Grade 1’s do not. I really want to try out letting the students build the room, voice their ideas, and no behaviour charts but how do I do that in a Grade 1 environment?

Any ideas or suggestions?