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This is the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast with your host Vicki Davis.
Advancement Courses – Show Sponsor
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Today’s sponsor is Advancement Courses. Stay tuned at the show’s end to learn about ten top things to do and top topics to learn for teachers this summer. We need to learn, but can’t we have fun simultaneously?
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Now on to the show.
Introducing Kiki Powell
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Today, we’re talking with second-grade teacher Kiki Powell. She’s been teaching for seven years. She’s in Texas now and spent quite a bit of time in Hawaii. But we’re going to talk about two sorts of things. We’re going to talk a little bit about her tips and ideas.
But also the reason we’re talking to her is. Kiki, you decided that you wanted to be an education influencer. You went to get out there and share. So take us back in time to the conversation in your head, what you said to yourself, to those around you and how you started on that journey.
How Kiki Decided She Wanted to Be an Education Influencer
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Okay. So it started in March 2020, and right before the pandemic hit, I just had that feeling in my gut that we weren’t coming back after spring break. And remember getting that message saying, you know what, we will go an extended spring break.
Everyone gets another week. And in my mind, I was thinking, this has never happened before. So what am I going to do to make my kids still feel that love and passion as if I was there? And what is everyone turning into right now? Social media and I have a couple of my favorite influencers that I liked, and I was thinking, Hey, you know, I do something very similar to that. So what if I put it out there for the world to see?
Get feedback. Because as teachers, we grow from hearing other people’s ideas and getting different perspectives. So I thought, “Oh, hey, you know, if this person can do it, why can’t I?” And so, I did a bunch of research.
I looked into it; I learned how to make my domain. So that’s how I created it this year. And I just felt so proud of myself that, as educators, what do we do? We tell our kids to figure it out for themselves, solve problems, and solve problems.
And that’s precisely what I did. And so, from there, I just started posting everything that I did in my class. I had my favorite TPT, and everyone has their favorite teacher, great teachers, or person they go to like mine is Tails of Teaching.
She has been helping me tremendously, and I love that. Now I get to work with the people who create the worksheets that are fantastic educators and help them with their businesses. It started skyrocketing when I ended up leaving Hawaii for Texas, and I joke because a lot of people don’t like to send things to Hawaii because it’s more expensive. So maybe when I came to Texas, that’s when it was skyrocketing, and now I have a plethora of things in my classroom. So a bunch of authors love to reach out to me and ask me if I can read their books.
And I personally love showcasing different authors of all genres because I think now that I’ve had so many virtual authors visit my classroom, my kids are inspired to write their own stories and have that freedom of expression and being creative and showing that some officers are author and illustrator.
They can do both. But if you’re a great writer and don’t feel that you’re so confident with your illustrations, you can have someone who can help you. And they see that there are a bunch of different avenues that these kids can take.
And I think that makes a difference because they’ll ask this how it’s Monday and you have all of these things in this classroom, what are you doing? And I joke with them and say, Oh, you know, I post things that we do in class because I think you’re all beautiful rockstars, and I think just building them up, then that allows them to continue to grow well.
Where Does KiKi Share?
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Okay, so so talk about the places that you share. So you have your own domain; you have your own website. Where are the social media platforms that you like to share the most?
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My Instagram @mspowellteaches is where I post the most, and that’s usually where many people will send me messages to collaborate and want to work with me. And then I have Twitter. Twitter’s @mspowellteaches more of my where I post more of my students because I work in a district that loves to showcase student work and pictures with students and not having to worry about them being blurred out because they sign contracts saying that we can post photos with them, find more of my authentic student work would be on Twitter and then I have my website, my website, it’s more of my blog. http://www.mspowellteaches.com/
So it highlights the things that I’ve done with like media wise. I just had a magazine come out last week that I was in for an article for a teacher spotlight, and then I have my LinkedIn and that’s just like my professional work that you can see that I’ve done.
Ideas for Ending the School Year Well
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Yeah. Awesome. Okay, so looking towards the end of the school year and what kind of things are you going to be looking to share in the end of April, May into June, to help teachers like what are the kind of things you look to share in that time for a cool tips or whatever?
Idea #1 Write a Letter to Their Future Teacher
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Some of my favorite things to do as I have the kids write a letter to their future teacher, so they’re all going into third grade and this works for multiple ways. One, you can showcase the students writing right when they come into the classroom, and then two, it gives them that personality.
I think volume speaks whenever you read a paper and you see what is important to them and they’ll let you know. I work well if I have a fidget in my hand, or it just gives them that expression that they need to be successful for third grade.
Idea #2: Giving Awards
And then I love to give awards for anything, anything and everything. And I do that because I want them to feel confident and very secure that I went to second grade and I did a great job. And by doing that and giving them so many positive affirmations, I’m hitting their scale and making them feel loved.
And I actually just have finished all my words and they say different ones. Like, You were amazing in second grade because you grew from when we started, or you were outstanding because you decided that I’m going to speak it out in front of the classroom and I’m going to be brave.
So just having those positive reinforcement with them goes a long way.
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So are those like certificates that I use of them that I got from Chris Lehman in Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia called the Paper Plate Awards. So we used just paper plates and the kids helped be creative and they’re just a lot of fun, but a lot of the kids will keep them.
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It’s great idea. Do you make certificates or what do you do?
Idea #3: Give Ribbon Awards or Bracelets
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So I make certificates and then I get an actual ribbon award and I give a bracelet. So I have a bracelet and it says, like, I was a star student, the ribbons, it’s like a nice ribbon because I want them to hang it up and look at it all summer and think, Wow, you know, I got this ribbon to make me feel good. And then I take the certificate and then I laminate it. Whether you wear the all star speller in the class or you were the jokester in the class, I like to pick out like their favorite part about themselves and just really go with it.
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So you’re careful to make sure it’s genuine and honest because we know that kids can smell it out if we’re not being truthful. Oh, okay. Can you tell us a story about why you started this and why you keeping doing it?
Do you have a story of a student and how it changed them?
Idea #4: Throughout the Year, Write Things Down About Each Student
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What really started is when I first started teaching and the kids are like, “Wow, you really care for me?”
Because I would remember I would have a cheat sheet. It had all the boxes, I had every kid’s name and anything they told me I would write it down. So that way I would not forget because I as a teacher, can very forgetful. And I am my kids will tell you I’ll forget a lot of things. And so because I started that, I remember things more quickly and then I can leave it with the sub.
Idea #5: Make a Personal Connection with Each Student
So if they want to make a connection with my students, then they had that as well. And I think they always say like, “I just want a hug, I just want to feel loved, I want to feel valued.”
And so every day I’m like, “I’m here. If you want a hug,” I’m open. I think just because I embrace them, it makes that special impact. Because I was pulled out of the classroom today, because I was helping out with testing for grades, and every time my kids saw me in the bathroom, they would run to me and give me a hug, even though I’m just out for a couple hours. And I think that is my why and why I’m teaching is because I’m making them feel like they are supposed to be here. They’re here thriving.
And I want them to whatever dream that they have, I honestly believe that they are going to achieve it. So I always push them for I try not to take them down because I just think, you know, it’s like if as teachers, we want people to tell us we’re doing a great job.
So it’s the same for the kids as well.
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So as we finish up, what is something you’ve shared with teachers that has gotten the most shares and likes and engagement?
What do teachers like that you share?
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It’s anchor charts and posters. I did one. I’m looking at it right now. It says 20 Reasons Miss Powers Thinks You Did Well This Year and I wrote every kid’s name and I wrote one specific characteristic. So I put “I love Mia’s work ethic” or “I love Mackenzie’s persistence.”
It was very specific. And then I talked about it with the classic. This is why I chose that. And I think you’re great at this. And at the end of the day, they can leave the classroom saying, “Wow, my teacher thinks this of me.”
And then when they go to bed at night, they know like “I can go to school because it’s a place where I feel safe and it’s going to be exciting.”
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Awesome. So, Miss Powell, Kiki Powell, second grade teacher and influencer, thank you for coming on the show. You’ve definitely got the enthusiasm and the attitude because here’s the deal. And I say this a lot. It’s not about playing King of the Hill.
It’s about making a bigger hill. There’s lots of room for educators to share and help one another, and we really need each other right now because this has not been an easy season. So thank you, Kiki.
Thank you Advancement Courses
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Last summer I took my professional development with Advancement Courses and I am so glad that I did on my blog. I recently shared 10 Ways to Rejuvenate and Learn This Summer. All of the course ideas come from the advancement courses catalog to go to https://www.coolcatteacher.com/top10
Learn about some courses you might want to take and some things that you need to do this summer. Your current needs should impact your professional development. Advancement Courses makes it so easy to complete your PD with courses that are online and self-paced so you can take them anywhere any time with up to six months to complete. And right now you can use the code cool. 15 to get 15% off your course today. So go to www.coolcatteacher.com/top10 and begin deciding what you want to learn this summer.
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John Davis (Announcer and Producer)
You’ve been listening to the Ten Minute Teacher podcast. If you like this program, you can find more at www.coolcatteacher.com. If you wish to see more content by Vicki Davis, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter under @coolcatteacher.
Thank you for listening.