Archive | October, 2014


Dear Time;
Did you consider the Harvard study you cited was already debunked?

Did you acknowledge that this specific study based “quality teaching” on standardized test scores?

Did you stop to actually research or interview a teacher?

Or did you follow the non-educators, big money, and provocative yet false banter to sell a magazine?

Great retort, asking these questions. Rotten Journalism: 4 Ways Time Magazine Misrepresents Teachers


Just Give 2 Minutes

2 minutesIn my last post, I reflected on the need to wrap my students with empathy.  Making connections is essential to building relationships.  Building relationships is essential to effective classroom management.  I have a standing “rule” posted in my room in various places, “Ms.O’s 2 Minute Rule.”  It isn’t my expectations for behaviors though, its my rule in life and it doesn’t stop at the classroom threshold. This rule states that all students, actually all people get 2 minutes a day to whine, complain, and/or feel sorry for themselves.  2 minutes.  It’s all you get.  It then reminds all of us, to spend a moment reflecting on someone else’s 2 minutes helping us to see our blessings instead.  I use the posters, when one student gets on a negative roll, when a group and I discuss their perceived hardships around our middle school and of course I remind myself of it daily as I put myself to sleep or hit a difficult bump in the road.

Recently I came across  a post, that has a different 2 minutes strategy.  It’s the 2-10 strategy.  It suggests teachers spend 2 minutes a day making small talk, making connections, chit-chatting with at-risk students everyday for 10 days.  As I read this article, I started naming the students I was definitely going to focus on for the next 10 days.  I also had a lot of questions as a middle school teacher.  However, in the follow up post by Angela Watson, she heard those questions, recognizes the hurdles and yet says you can do this, you should do this, and do not over think it.

I started reflecting on why the research says this works?  Well, it is making connections, its finding something you can understand about that student’s life, and it builds that trust they need to feel safe and vulnerable.  It builds that place they need to know that someone cares and someone gets them, what is that?  Empathy.  Wrap your classroom in empathy, spend 2 minutes a day for 10 days making connections with the toughest student and then reflect.  Ask yourself, what you can change?  You can’t change them, but you can change the surroundings and your own perspective.

I am a few days into my 2-10 experiment.  I found it hard on some days to get 2 minutes, however I spent 30 seconds and added it to the bank account.  If the day was too hectic, or the student was too disinterested I simply taught and I smiled. I stood at the front of the classroom and talked to the entire class with a smile on my face.  I used that day’s lesson as a my way to make a connection.  I stopped babbling about math for 2 minutes and chatted with all of them and most importantly, I showed I ENJOY them.

In the end I walked away feeling better. I certainly enjoyed it more than a 90 minute block with all of us at odds and agitated.  So my 2 minute rule and my 2-10 strategy are hopefully going to keep me enjoying a tough classroom all year long.  I will keep you posted.empathy is bubble wrap, classroom managment, pbis


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