My One Word 2017 is Flow by Laura Gilchrist

Personal reasons I've committed myself to the 365 Day Meditation Challenge with Insight Timer which I blogged about here. I'm going strong at 35 consecutive days! With an ACES score of 4 from childhood, it's empowering to finally 'get it' that the answers I've sought outside of myself are actually within me, waiting to be found and released. It seems so simple and I'm realizing it actually is, once you connect into yourself. Building my own resilience by...

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Anti-Anxiety Breathing Technique You Can Count On. by Laura Gilchrist

I'm doing the 365 Day Meditation Challenge with the Insight Timer ommunity and I couldn't be more excited -- and calm. Ha! I'm determined to help kids and adults, including myself, exercise control of their mind/body so they can relax, feel happy, and learn. I believe mindfulness and meditation (flow states) can play a key role. I blogged about it here.

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She Ditched Her Teacher Desk by Laura Gilchrist


In my new role as the high school Instructional Coach in Turner USD 202 District, I noticed the innovative tweets coming from Cassie Nix at the 6th Grade Academy. I went over to meet her and check out her new standing workstation. My goal was to tweet and share the classroom design story with teachers at my high schools and with others via Twitter photos. I did not plan to do a mini interview--although I should have planned it! Luckily, she was game for an on-the-spot interview. Cassie is a natural in front of the camera. One take and we were done. The kids chimed in with their thoughts as well and are part of the video. I created the movie on my iphone using iMovie. I uploaded it straight to Youtube. My new hat: Educational video reporter. One of my 2016 goals. Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.36.24 AMI believe you will nod your head as you hear Mrs. Nix talk about why she made the desk change. I believe you will nod your head even more vigorously when you hear how she handled the desk change with the kids. Her student-centered, conversation-based approach to learning--together, as an entire class--is beautiful!

Here's the 3 minute Youtube video!

2 Activities to Jumpstart Classroom Learning Communities by Laura Gilchrist


Two activities I used this year to create collisions, conversation, and laughter between my student learners were Inside/Outside Circles and Spin to Win. I teach 6th graders social studies (1 class) and science (3 classes)! Inside/Outside Circles: I wrote a 6-box grid on the board filled with prompts like 'Favorite food, snacks" and "Funny or cool story about me." The kids filled it out and then they started talking. Wouldn't you know that each class chose to go outside!

The kids suggested the inside/outside circles activity as a way to get to know each other and learn names in 1st hour. We did something different in each class, per class suggestions and vote.


Spin To Win: This little gem became a part of my yearly classroom culture through a student project in 2003-04! I use it for games with points and I use it for fun/getting-to-know-you sorts of activities with CANDY. Fun and laughter are necessary for a vibrant learning community. The Spin to Win launches this beautifully for me each year.


Spin to Win Lucky Lucky Winners! 14-15

How the Spin to Win worked this past week: Say your name and then SPIN the wheel TO WIN!! If you land on '1 point,' you pick one piece of candy out of the treasure chest. If you land on 2, you pick out 2 pieces of candy. If you hit the one and only LUCKY  LUCKY slot on the wheel you get to plunge one hand deep into the treasure chest and grab as much candy as you can in that one hand. We had 3 winners last week. You can see them in the picture above.

My little twist on the game is on the 1/2 point sections. The kids get 1/2 a piece of candy!! I use a hammer or a plastic knife to split Jolly Ranchers, suckers, and Starbursts. Of course, I eat the other half since I don't believe in wasting good food. :)


I love being an educator because.... by Laura Gilchrist


I love being an educator because of KIDS! They inspire me. They lift me up. They make me laugh.They challenge me to be the best I can be. I love my kids. I am honored to make a difference in kids'  lives--in their minds, their hearts, and their futures. My kids, your kids, our kids will go on to impact our communities and our world.

Working as an educator is my way of sending love and hope into the future.

These letters from last year explain why I spend my days with kids as an educator and learner!