My new book is out. It’s 99 cents for a limited time on Amazon. Also available on Kindle Unlimited.
Several months ago I was searching the internet for some good ideas on teaching poetry to Jr high and high school students. I came across this great post on Medium by Jon E. H. Burton who was participating in a 100 Day Haiku challenge.
And then I came across another great post on Medium by Courtney Symons.
This was perfect because I was planning on having my students learn haiku because I figured it would be great to start with. The more I read about 100 Day Challenges, the more I realized how essential it is to participate in them. Here are some important things that I concluded.
- You will improve: When you complete any task consistently on a daily basis, studies have shown that you will improve in that task. There is a story I heard about a ceramics teacher. You have probably heard this story before, but here it is.
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pounds of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot — albeit a perfect one — to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work — and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
If you take anything away from this story, it should be this:
2. It will become a habit: Studies have shown that it takes about three weeks to form a habit. That is only 21 days. If you attempt a 100 Day Challenge, even if you miss a couple days, you will be way over the mark to form a good habit. No matter what challenge you choose: exercising, writing a blog, drawing art, reading, ect., you will form a new habit.
3. It will help you become disciplined. No matter what you do in life, being disciplined is important. Discipline help people to focus and get things completed.
Here is a great quote I read from
“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”
It is hard to get things finished if you lack discipline and drive in your life. Even in an everyday situation such as chores around the house, school work, or work in general, having the discipline to complete things and move on to the next task makes life a whole lot easier.
A couple weeks ago, while I was getting my things ready to teach my next class, I heard some students talking about some books they have been reading. They were giving each other some suggestions for the next book that they should try. I was impressed with these students. Thinking about all of the conversations that could be overheard coming from high school students, a conversation about reading and books was refreshing. Then, I heard one of them say, “My doctor told me that reading is bad for you. I can ruin your brain, make you dumb, and ruin your eyes.” Immediately another student said, “ I can’t believe you just said that.” That was my thought exactly. The students continued walking down the hallway and I didn’t hear any more of the conversation.
That conversation stuck in my head for a long time. The more and more I thought about it, the more I hoped that those negative words had no impact on the other kids and their love of books. So, I am going to share with you some good reasons that you should read every day.
1. Reading keeps your brain active. Just like exercise is good for your body and keeps it healthy, reading is good for your brain. Reading keeps your brain fit. There have been many studies that have shown that reading every day can reduce the chances of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. My father developed Dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. Although he was a very smart man, with different degrees, and a job with a prominent aerospace company, that didn’t help him. He worked hard and didn’t usually take time to read very often. Of course there could have been other factors involved, however, reading could have helped.
2. Reading increases your vocabulary. The more you read, the more words you are exposed to on a regular basis. I can’t tell you how many times I have been reading a book and have come across a word that I wasn’t familiar with. That is such a great opportunity to write the word down and look it up in the dictionary. I good example of this, is when I was reading Anna Kendrick’s book, A Scrappy Little Nobody, she mentioned a word I have never heard before: Kerfuffle. Of course, I had to look it up, it sounds like such a fun word. Kerfuffle means a fuss or commotion. This has now become one of my favorite words. I shared it with my English classes and challenged them to see how many times they could use kerfuffle in a day, in the correct context.
3. Reading improves your memory. When you read, there are many things you will have to remember throughout the book. You have to remember character’s names, certain details, different events which take place, and many other things the writer throws your way. Increasing your memory while you are reading also helps you increase your memory with other everyday things.
It’s 2018 already! The year came so fast. Thinking back on 2017, what would you have done differently? Do you feel that you made the impact that you wanted to? The good thing is it’s a new year and we have 365 more chances.
Marguerite Annie Johnson Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, and passed away on May 28, 2014. She is better known as Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou was a very influential writer for her time, and she still is today. One of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou is:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelout
Those words are so true. As a teacher, I would love to think that my words would have an important impact on each student. Sadly, the truth is that most of my words are forgotten as soon as I speak them. My pastor always says that he has to repeat something at least 5 times, so everyone hears him.
I just recently watched an interesting movie starring Ryan Reynolds. The movie was called “School of Life.” I know what you’re thinking, that movie came out in 2005 and you just recently watched it? In the movie, Ryan Reynolds plays a teacher named Mr. D. All the students love him. Not because he was the best teacher in the world, or because they listened to every word he spoke. No, it was because he took the time to make each student feel important.
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer understood the importance of impacting others. He was known as the “father of motivation.” How great would it be if each and every day we could make people feel better about themselves?
I know all too well how it feels when unkind words are spoken, even in fun or just repeating something that someone else said. Once those words are spoken, they can never be taken back. That is why it is so important to think about how your words will make someone feel before you say them.
With this being the new year and most people are in the mindset of setting goals, how about setting a goal of purposely being nice. Smile at people, open the door for someone, say a kind word. You never know how just one simple little act can make someone’s day.
Maybe you would like to join the 30 Day Kindness Challenge. That is a great place to start.