Posted in Blaugust, Education, Sketchnote

Year 17, Day 1 – A New Hope


The face of someone that has been teaching since 2001.  I’ve had more than my fair share of Institute Days.  Normally, I zone out (I get points for being honest on here right?!).  Today, I decided to try sketchnoting and it was pretty awesome actually.  Having something to engage with while listening to 3 hours of speaking this morning (yes, you read that right, THREE HOURS of basically direct instruction from a PowerPoint) really made the time fly.  Here is my first sketchnote:


One of the things that I noticed when I read about sketchnoting online is that the words and symbols don’t have to mean much to anyone outside of you :).  However, I will pick out some of the highlights from this just for my own reflection.

RTHSEA to the left – I am a proud member of the Rich Township High School Education Association.  We worked ALL LAST YEAR without a contract.  We were able to settle our contract this summer and I am so happy about that situation.  It is definitely one of the blessings that I am counting.  Also, as I am counting my blessings I am actively CHOOSING to be a blessing to other people.

HOPE at the top right – In addition to our contract I am REALLY excited about the fact that for the first time in a couple of years we actually have a real superintendent.  I was skeptical of him at first, but after really listening to him (thank you sketchnotes) I really tuned into his ideas.  One of the major ones is listed below.  He left me feeling hopeful for this new year and that is not something that I have said in several years.  It was definitely a breath of fresh air.

The Boxing Glove still in that upper right corner – I loved that when our new superintendent, Dr. Johnnie Thomas, spoke about WHY WOULD HE COME HERE he talked about wanting to fight for OUR kids.  That really spoke to my mission.  He seemed so sincere and I really wanted to be on his team fighting for my community.

at the most top right – I set a goal for today that I plan to set for my students next week (inspired by a blog post from  At the end of the first day, I want students to get to know 5 other people’s names.  So today I achieved that same goal for myself.

Engage and Passion – Engagement and passion work so well together.  If you are passionate about something, you will engage.  The more you engage, the more it speaks to your passion.  I want to feel that same passion we all have as first year teachers.  I need to engage more and possibly outside of my comfort zone.

Denominators Matter to the far right – So many people threw around percents before lunchtime in two different sessions.  I wanted to scream, “What is the denominator?” because it TOTALLY makes a difference in the situation.  I hate when people quote percents and they can’t articulate the denominator.  It’s a much bigger deal than most people probably realize.


Below are some pictures of my blank classroom. Some key features that I want to point out are:

  • although my desks and chairs do not remotely match, my Chromebooks do…I’ll take matching Chromebooks any day.
  • I am not married to this seating arrangement but I will be fitting at least 30 students in this space, so suggestions are always welcome.  I like paired seating because it is easy to have pairs turn into fours for group tasks, but again I am open to suggestion.
  • yes, I am blessed to have that sweet flat panel SmartBoard and my very own classroom – I waited so long for both of those things so I am so grateful to have them right now in my teaching career
  • this is NOT a new classroom to me.  I actually used it last year.  I am so used to moving classrooms (for about 7 years straight I had to change classrooms and/or share with other teachers) that I always leave my room completely clear to actually make things easier on myself.  I like it because it helps me declutter my life and keep the walls fresh.
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