Episode 57- Stop, breathe, and ask yourself this question!

brain breaks podcast Oct 03, 2023
Brain Breaks

Phew... I double dog dare you to try this the next time you feel like pulling your hairs out in front of a class... the next time your find yourself ready to explode because they're LITERALLY not doing ANYTHING like you wanted them to... Pause, breathe, and ask yourself this question!


Here's the Brain Break mentioned in this podcast!- the blog
Here's a video of it in action! - listen to how quiet they sound!
Here's where you can learn about the Empowered Mastermind two day workshop that Claudia and I are hosting in Raleigh, NC! 

Are you looking for some ideas, inspiration and motivation this back to school season!? Bertha Delgadillo, Kia London, and I will be sharing what we've been doing to build community and engagement this month! You can register to join us for free by clicking the link below! Shout out to  Express Fluency for hosting this free event!
Register here!



Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity and guidance in centering joy, and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most our students, I'm your host, Annabelle, most people call me la maestra loca. And I'm an educator just like you, and inspiring teachers is what I do. Hello, hi there, Episode 57. What? That's nuts. I'm really happy you are here. I was wondering, I don't know what to record about. I don't know what I should record about this week. And sometimes when I'm feeling that way, I just know that maybe I don't record an episode this week. And then it hit me. I got an email from somebody who was at a workshop with me this past weekend, in Connecticut, I did a workshop in Milford, Connecticut with their world language teachers there and it was really special. Their superintendent came, the assistant superintendent came, about six different principals from various schools across the district. It was really, really special. And I did demos in Chinese. And it was just a really powerful day. 

The One Question

One of the high school teachers emailed me with a big takeaway, and I was super grateful for it. And it was another takeaway that another high school teacher has shared as one of their greatest takeaways from the day. And it made me think, dang, it's such a simple thing to talk about on the podcast. And I feel confident I haven't yet. So, my tip for you today or my podcast for you today is the next time you are standing in front of your class going, oh, my gosh, what on earth is going on? This is a disaster. This is a complete disaster fee. I literally don't even know what when you're standing there going, this is a train wreck. And want you to pause for a second and ask yourself one question. Are you ready for that? One question. Are you ready for this giant takeaway? The question is, did I model it? No, don't skip this episode, I want you to listen, I want you to hear me out, especially middle school and high school teachers. This question is so freakin’ important. And when I coach middle school and high school teachers, it is one of the number one questions I asked them all the time. Did you model the activity? Did you model the brain break? Did you model exactly what you wanted? And I'm not saying give the instructions three times very clearly and have it student repeat them? Yes, that's great, too. I'm saying did you physically, you as the teacher and another student, model out with your body, with your voice level exactly what it was you wanted students to do before you said OKAY, go do this.

If you call them back…  

Because if you didn't, 90% of the time, if you stop what you're doing right now the train wreck that you're witnessing, and you say, Hey, y'all, we come back, come back, come back, I want to I just realized I forgot to model what I wanted 90% of the time, if you call them back in a kind and gentle way, and say I just want to model what this looks and sounds like first, and model it without feeling like oh, well, this is way too elementary. Every single child, every single student everywhere, adult, child, doesn't matter who, every single student needs a model of exactly what the task is that they're doing, exactly what their bodies look like while they're doing it, and what the volume level should be. If it is so loud, you cannot hear yourself think then that's not exactly what you want it for that activity, then stop them and say, hey, I forgot to model what this looks and sounds like. And then model it at a voice level one. And then stop and say what did you notice? The “what did you notice part” goes an extra step.

Interactive Modeling  

I was trained maybe eight years ago in a Responsive Classroom model. And they talk a lot about oh, there's a specific word for it. Let me pause this and see if I can find it. Of course, as soon as I hit pause it popped into my brain interactive modeling. They talk a lot about interactive modeling where you model and then you say what do you notice, not you don't point out what you're doing. You say what do you notice you put it back on the kids. And then the kids say I notice you are you have a calm body. I noticed your inner voice level one. I noticed you are passing the paper to your right every time and then you get a kid or two kids to do it. And then you ask the question again, what do you notice? And then the whole group does it. But honestly, you don't even need to go that far. My question is, did you ask yourself, did I model this? And if you didn't stop and model it, there's no harm in stopping the process, modeling it and saying, Okay, now try it, and seeing if it helps, because most of the time, it's incompetence, not because they want to be incompetent, it's because they did not understand what it was you wanted from them in this moment during class. They didn't know exactly what your expectations were, crystal clear, on what they were writing on their paper, who they were passing it to, what voice level they were talking at, who they were working at, whatever, they didn't know. So, stop, ask yourself that question. And don't be afraid to model it. Okay, okay. Okay. You know what it's time for right? It's been a little while it's been a little while. Let's do let's do it. Let's do it.

Brain Break!

Okay, you know, it has been a while I apologize for that. I'm not sorry. Because now is the perfect time for a brain break, right. I'm super excited to share about chopsticks. This is a brain break I blogged about; it must have in 2018. It was Brain Breaks part 13. On my blog, I'll make sure to link it in the show notes. And it is an all-time favorite because it is perfect for those chill days, I have had a really rough start to my week had my blood drawn this morning, I fainted. I had my blood drawn because I was bit by a student six weeks ago, a student in distress. I'm not upset with the student. I was upset with the situation that caused the student distress. But it was an interesting start to my Monday to say the least, chopsticks was a wonderful brain break to use today to give the students the brain break that I knew they craved and that they needed and that they wanted. But it kept the class very much quiet for me which I needed. So basically, what you do is kids partner up, and they face any person, right, and they put two fingers out in front of them, one on each hand. And then they attack each other taking turns one at a time using their fingers. So, let's say I am playing with you, I use my right hand and I touch my right-hand finger to your left hand finger, I attack that finger. Now that hand, your hand, will have two fingers on that hand two fingers out in front of you. And I only have one on one hand and one on my left hand one on my right hand, then you might use your hand that I just attacked your left hand with two fingers on it to attack my right hand. Now my right hand will have three fingers on it because you attacked two fingers to my one finger. So now I have three. Now if I use my hand that has three fingers on it to your left hand, which has two fingers on it, and I attack it, boom, all of a sudden, you have five fingers on that hand because you add those numbers together. And that hand must get put behind you because as soon as you have five fingers or more than that hand goes away, that disappears because you can't use it anymore. And it goes on and on like that until you have one player left with fingers out in front of them. Now you can do something fancy. If you have an even number on one hand, one hand behind your back and the other hand has an even number on it like two or four. Instead of attacking on your turn, you can bring that other hand back and split. Which means like if I have two fingers on my right hand and my left hand is already behind my back, it's already out. Instead of attacking on my turn, I can bring my left hand back and bump it next to my right hand. And now both hands have one on them. I split that two between both hands. Now this might sound really confusing on a podcast. And I promise you it will make way more sense if you watch the video that's linked in my podcast and the blog. It's gonna make way more sense. And the nice thing about this is again, kids are like thinking it's a connection to math. They really enjoy it. A lot of kids already know this brain break. So, it's not one that takes a lot of teaching. Sometimes kids don't, and that's okay. But a lot of kids already know it. It's really, really fun and it's awfully competitive. As soon as a kid is played with one person and one person is out, they can go and find somebody else. Again, I'd like to keep my brain break short and sweet, about 60 seconds and then we sit back down and move on with class. I hope this one was helpful. Can't wait to hear how it goes.

Join me at the Mastermind!  

Oh, my goodness, I'm just so excited about this episode. And I'm so excited for you to email me and tell me, oh my gosh, I tried the modeling. And you're right, like my brain is blown. I know, I know, I know. Before I go, I wanted to tell you about another mind-blowing opportunity that I don't want you to miss. If you are within driving distance of Raleigh, North Carolina, turn up your volume, grab a diaper if you need one. Because you're about to pee yourself, you're going to be so excited. Claudia and I have put together a mastermind workshop that is unlike anything either of us have ever done. This is the first time in my career, I have been fully planned out for something weeks in advance before an event. And I am beside myself excited about this. Our event is called the Empowered Mastermind elevating world language teaching through mindset and pedagogy. We have set out to create a workshop that focuses not just on giving teachers tools to enhance and develop their skills when it comes to language acquisition instruction and like facilitating that language acquisition, facilitating the growth and development of proficiency in our classrooms. But tools for mindset for those days when you feel totally defeated. When you feel like am I really serving the students in front of me, that student just said something to me, and it's wrapped like absolutely gone to my core and eating me from the inside out. Those days, when you're constantly comparing yourself to other teachers, whether it's online, or in your building, those days where you're starting to doubt your own skills, when it comes to leading your learners effectively, all of those days that feel impossible. We really wanted to create a workshop where we can give teachers tools for their mindset and not just the pedagogy. So, we've combined the two for two really powerful workshop days that I am beside myself excited about truly, truly, it's going to be so transformational. And so, did I say that correctly? Transformational Yes. And really, truly powerful. And I would love for you to be there. About, I know that maybe it's I'm trying to do the math in my head. I'm terrible at math, y'all. This is a disaster, about 18% of the seats are already taken. So, there's still plenty left. But the workshop is next month, the 11th and 12th of November. And we do have limited seats because we want to be really intentional about keeping this group intimate, so that it can be really, really powerful for our first mastermind together. So, if you're interested, check the show notes. Reach out to me, definitely ask your admin, see if they can send you if you're within driving distance, I know that this is going to be an incredibly powerful and transformational weekend. And I would love to have you there.

Thank you!

Okay, teacher take care. I love you big and next time you're feeling frustrated in front of your class, I want you to just stop, and think did I model this. This is a mess. Did I model exactly what I wanted? What voice level would they be doing? Did I model it? And if you didn't pause, take a breather, and take a second to model it. I'm wishing you all the luck for the rest of your week and sending you big hugs from New Orleans. Until next time, I will be teaching la maestra loca, and I'm sure you will be too!

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