Sunday, February 21, 2021

5 SEL Activities to Reconnect and Engage Students After a Break

 It is early Sunday morning a day before school starts after ski break in California. Interestingly, we didn't have this break when I was living in Colorado. But, I am not complaining! 

I will be honest, it is hard for me to go back to school after a break. In my series of student interviews before we went on the break, students mentioned how much they like the free time and the time to do anything that they want during the break. I got stuck on the word ANYTHING. The question that I asked myself while designing my post-break lessons

What activities should I plan for Monday that gives them a lot of CHOICES and they get to COLLABORATE with their friends in the breakout rooms? 

I am mindful that not all my students love collaboration, these activities are planned in a way that they can be done alone. 

I have noticed that after our break, we as teachers ask our favorite question, " So, what did you do over the break?". 

You might get a myriad of responses from 

"I went to Tahoe for skiing" (yes during a partial shutdown, too).

"I slept a lot." 

To be inclusive of all the activities and for those who had a boring break, I came up with this activity to convince the class that my activity was the world's boring or best activity to do over a break and why? 

So as I planned for Monday after our break, I came up with these 5 activities that give them ample choices to collaborate with their friends. It also helps me as a teacher to engage and reconnect with our class virtual community.  

Here are 5 Social-Emotional Learning activities, you will find the templates for all these activities in the link below:

1) Unscramble the holiday words

2) Tell a Story about the image 

3) World's best or boring holiday activity  EVER

4) Pictionary using Nearpod

5) Thin Slides- EduProtocol

5 SEL Activities

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Lessons from 2020

You are not over... yet,

but your cumulative impact continues to throb.

I was incredulous when I first embarked on this journey.

Not wincing even once, at what was about to come.

Your power refusing to abate.

Feeling the world moves on ... and so would I.

Making me feel blase' about your affliction.

 I (confidently speaking, also the entire world) wants to say goodbye to you.

But, you are robust as Elon Musk's Space economy. 

Only, promising to erupt my past habits and life.

Augmenting my life by teaching me painstaking lessons, 

each month you give me a panorama of a new truth.

You are ardent about change.

I cannot wrangle with you anymore '2020',

COVID, Loss of Loved One, Natural Disaster, Human Injustice, Political Disaster.

I marvel your power to vie for the most important chapter in World History Books.

Life is like a delicate flower.

I am mortal, chasing my dreams with an expiry date tag.

Lessons are hard to learn,

I question my goal-oriented (the Indian in me) nature. 

You make me look small and weak. 

As I stand unarmored in the rubble of my ego.

Repeatedly teaching and reminding me to learn these hard lessons:

~ Experiences and love for people over results and anger.

~Simplicity over possessions (5 dresses are enough, Nupur), positions, or the number of followers/likes on my social media.

~I was born with nothing and I will die with nothing. So, whatever more you bring 2020, it will be a profit. Feeling richer over feeling lack.

And, that's how I want to try to remember you- 2020! 

"We all came in on different ships, but we're all in the same boat now.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Pandemic Perception

On May 21st, I got a text from a friend asking how I am doing.  It was late at night, I was ending another day behind me. I can't tell you my exact response,  let's just say it was not so happy or positive. Thinking everything is great, my friend send me this response, "You are posting such cheerful tweets." This was the tweet I posted the same day.

The whole night I spend pondering and reflecting on my friend's response. The next morning, I poured everything out in this poem titled:  Knock Knock.

This is a very good friend of mine and my post doesn't tell the reality. It is like living in the murky world of social media.  Creating a deception of what a person is really going through. I know there are others who hide under their shell. In the day time they give grace, express gratitude and smile, but cry under the covers at night. I am not going through something terrible or tough. There are far bigger problems and this is nothing compared to that. However, the only thing constant is the roller coaster of feelings, since March 14 when life got a big jolt. Shelter in place was tough enough to deal with. On April 24th, I had a bike accident, landed in the ER. Exactly a week later, I was showing symptoms of COVID, took me again to the hospital for COVID testing. Two days I was quarantined at home until the results came. A friend of mine is fighting COVID for the last 9 weeks. All of this and the daily challenges, to be an educator, parent, and teach your special kid all at the same time and do this non-stop! To add to this mix, anxiety about my family abroad and missing the human connection. 

If it was not for my friend's text, I wouldn't be sharing my incomplete half-told story. Don't we all have our incomplete half-told stories? 

Picture Credits: 
First door picture by Ashwini Chaudary from India
Second, being numb to emotions picture by Sydney Sims from USA
Third open door picture by Denny Mรผller from Germany

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Teach by GIF (ing) BITMOJI

I posted my Coordinate Math lesson using GIF on Twitter and several teachers have asked me to share my lesson template. Besides just sharing my lesson template, I thought I will also show you how you can create a GIF using Bitmoji. So, you can create your own and have fun with it!

Here we go, first, how do we GIF a Bitmoji instruction. I am showing how to create it step by step. If you already know how to and all you want is my lesson. Scroll all the way down to find my lesson template on Coordinate Plane.

Here is the list of fun ingredients that you will need to create GIF using Bitmoji like that ⬆️
1) Google Slides
2) Chrome extensions- Bitmoji- add this extension to your chrome browser you will find it the chrome w
3) Chrome Add-on- Creative Studio
4) Most importantly an idea on how you want your Bitmoji to travel in your Gif ๐Ÿ˜€

Step 1: Open google slide. This is your first slide. Pick a background where you want your Bitomji to move around. Here is what I picked for my lesson idea. Add this image to your slide as a background. Make sure it covers the entire slide. This is how it will look when you add it as a background

Step 2: Duplicate the above slide. This is your second slide. On the second slide you will be adding your Bitmoji. Once you have installed the Bitomji extensions which you will find in the Chrome Web Store. You will see the Bitmoji extension on your browser, it looks like this the smiley green face :) 

Pick a Bitmoji to add to the above slide with a background. Place it wherever you want it to on this second slide where you want it to start moving. I wanted my Bitmoji to start at (0,0) coordinates. I placed it there.

Step 3:  This is your third slide. On your third slide, add the same Bitmoji but move it to the place you would like to move next. I wanted my Bitmoji to move to the first quadrant. I placed her there. It looks like this

Follow Step 3 to keep adding your Bitmoji to the next few slide, wherever you want it to travel next. You only add ONE Bitmoji to different slides but you keep changing its spot. Here is the visual ⬇️ to show the difference between each slide

Step 4: Your sequence is complete when you are done moving the Bitmoji to its final spot in your last slide. Now it is time to see the magic happen with this add-on ⬇️
Add this add-on to your google slide.

Once you have the add-on. Hit the open button under Creator Studio.

The creator studio will open up on, select the time interval between the slide (max is 4 sec). Select the animate GIF option and hit the GO button. 
Voila! Magic happened and you created  GIF  using your Bitmoji.  It can be found in your google drive. All GIF created using Creator Studio are saved in the Creator Studio folder. 

Finally, here is my GIF(ing) Bitmoji Coordinate lesson template. You can make a copy of my template. Now, all you have to do is change it to your Bitmoji. I am working on other templates and, I will create another blog post for that. I hope this helps you. 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Global Read Aloud 2019- A Pre-Reading Collaborative Activity

I have noticed that my students love checking out their houses on google map (street view). Use this activity to hook them into the global read-aloud book"The Bridge Home" by Padma Venkatraman.  The story is set in India. Kids will explore the streets of  India and compare it to their own street. The lesson's objective is to build curiosity, some background knowledge and to practice writing a compare and contrast paragraph. To create this lesson, I used a protocol from the Eduprotocol book by Marlena Hebern and Jon Corippo 


 Here is the link to my lesson that includes the instructions and the transition words. Feel free to make a copy of this lesson and tweak it to your students' needs and interests. Please leave me a comment or feedback that I can add to this lesson.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

My heart is beating fast, I feel unprepared. I know I can wing it, but I want to do it the right way. It is 3:30 pm on Sept 2(Labor Day Monday). The famous philosophers and writers say that inspiration pours out easily when one is in the lap of mother nature. Well for me today the closest I can come to mother nature is Starbucks! Do the trees next to the nearby liquor store count as being in an inspirational setting? I will take that, ah I feel the ideas dripping in like the drip coffee. I am starting a writing unit tomorrow, teaching students how to write a  story about a small moment (personal narrative). I can teach them showing other author’s examples and mentor texts. The authentic ELA teacher inside me rises up to the conscious level saying,” You should write your own story first. Don’t you remember your students’ face last week when you read your crappy story.” I thought to myself, "Yes! Yes! Even my 8th graders were engaged in listening to my story about riding my bike at 6 am. Some students even clapped!" Obviously, they are good at pretending or maybe they respect me to not bring down my excitement about my story! It wasn't that crappy after all :-)
“Come on you don’t have to be perfect,” whispers my inner voice. "You have written a story before and you can write one in an hour before heading home to cook dinner." As Stephen King said, “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Well, clearly all fear has dissipated as I am 253 words into my storytelling.  There is power in small moments that happen to us. Whether our small moment story is about a scar that was left behind or a moment that embellishes our life. It can only enhance our experience of life if we allow it too. My small moment is about a Sunday when an unexpected thing happened to me! The weekend of May 17, 2019 (Friday), started with a memory of a recent scar. As I sat in one of my favorite places in San Jose, I decided to leave those memories behind me. I had a big weekend coming up. The next day, I was heading for STEM training and on Sunday I was competing in a triathlon race. Triathlon is a multi-sport race with three sequential and endurance races- swim, bike and run. Now you cannot drag self-pity to any of these places where you are surrounded by people and an intensely competitive environment. A few weeks ago, I had come last at Half Moon Bay triathlon. I tried to use that memory to propel me forward instead of holding me back! If you can fake it, you can make it. Ever heard that saying? That’s exactly what I did for the next two days. Well, instead of faking, I was believing that I am happy!
              I woke up at 3:30 am on Sunday the noise of relentless rain was loud enough to wake any sound sleeper! “Maybe they will cancel the race.” I thought to myself. What a relief I felt thinking about it.  I was not wanting to race that morning just like students not wanting to go to school, obviously not my students! :-)
Even though I love racing, I still prefer curling up with a book on a rainy day like this! No cancellation emails. 
I drove to the UVASS reservoir in Morgan Hill. I lowered my car windows invigorating all my senses.  The earthy smell of the rain and the sky wrapped in the dark-colored blanket made me feel happy yet felt like an ominous morning. Is it going to be a good race or a bad one?
Before getting in the reservoir, the race director announced, "If you hear thunder and lightning get to the shore.” “Really, how does anybody hear under the water?" It's pitch black in the water and the sky. Anyways, I got into my wetsuit and decided if I die today, at least it was a great setting. Maybe someone will write a story about it. The moment I dove into the water all my fear went away! Stephen King was right after all about the scariest moment- All you need to do is dive in whether it is writing or doing something you are afraid of.
The rain started timely during the biking part of the race! Perfect! It was not a 'spring rain whisper' more like 'spring rain yell! Thunder, lightning, and downpour like I have never seen before at a race! The trees were dancing and swishing to the music of the wind. I was holding onto my bike tight, avoiding to slip and fall. Paying attention to lightning!
I asked another cyclist passing by, “Shouldn’t we turn back?” To my dismay, he said, “Keep going.” I decided to go steady with the steady cold downpour, still hoping that they will cancel the race at this point! Always find something good in a problem. Hard to imagine that when you are in a tough situation. Now looking back there was no need to use a water bottle there was a constant supply of rainwater!
The third and the last part of the race was 5 miles run. After getting drenched on the bike, it was time to dry up and enjoy the course. I was at the finish line feeling very strong and happy about my performance. I was passing older men and younger guys and girls. Guessing I would have made it somewhere on the ranking chart. As I sprinted to the finish line, I thought to myself, "I am definitely not the last probably made it somewhere on the ranking chart."
The award ceremony started with the announcement of fifth-place ranking in my age group. I didn't hear my name, I started walking back to pack up and go home. As I walked back, the race director said, "The third-place winner is Nupur Sethi! He said my name accurately and confidently just as I felt confident about being somewhere on the ranking chart.  I was content and grateful for that feeling. All the scars were wiped out by that rainy race day! 
Taking unexpected race conditions and turning it into a win made me realize how there is beauty in all kinds of life's situation, it is how we respond to it matters that lead us to an unexpected victory. The sun will shine brightly after the dark cloud pass!

Monday, August 26, 2019

How will I ever be able to teach this group of kids?

 29 new sixth graders- cute, innocent, intense, active and some do not like school! About 1/3 of my class has social, emotional and extreme academic needs. After my first math lesson, during recess I sat with my hands on my head, repeating to myself, "How do I teach Math and ELA to this group?". There are SO different than last year's sixth graders. 

The inner voice said, "You teach the student not the subject." Every problem has an opportunity. I told myself, "This is a good problem to have." 

The next day I was going to teach them about the types of polygons. I had to make it super engaging or else I would lose a lot of kids, who think this teacher is kind of different. Simply because, I started the year saying,"Students it is okay to fail, make mistakes and I don't care about your spelling mistakes." I heard one kid yell, "yes!"  So here is my lesson to meet the needs of this unique group of students.

 I was talking to the kids about different types of cars, but the kids were confused. Wait, it is supposed to be a polygon lesson, why are we talking about cars? They got hooked and all of them wanted to tell me their favorite type of car. So how are they different? We nailed it down to what I wanted to hear- shapes, sides. We did go off a little bit, talking about someone's mom's favorite car or another kid's dream car and oh the vintage cars!

I had tangrams with me and asked them to spot the difference. They said they have a different number of sides. I told them once they learn different kinds of polygons, they will be playing a game and going on a scavenger hunt. You should have seen the engagement level especially in that kid who clearly told me, she hates math and everything else about school. She actually started writing and looking at me intently! The keyword is GAMES! I introduced the list of polygons by asking them to come up with the definition by what they saw unique about the shape. They took notes, I must add they did it very diligently  ๐Ÿ˜€

I took out the white bag out from my secret spot. One of them said, " she has a bag, I wonder what is in it." I feel sometimes teachers have to be magicians. ๐Ÿง™๐Ÿฝ‍♀️ I presented a bag of shapes, polygon names, visuals. It is sorting games, look at the picture and match it to the names of the polygons.

 Then we went out looking for hexagon, octagons, heptagon, quadrilateral. They were drawing, walking in nature, talking to each other, engaged and learning. This made my heart so happy! Sometimes I feel jealous of them, I wish when I was growing up, I was in a class like this. For a longtime, I felt dumb in my math class.  The question I ask myself if I would be a kid in my own class. If the answer is no, I will change my lesson plan!

The next day, the lesson was about teaching different types of angles. I did a kinesthetic activity of acting out what does an acute, obtuse and right angle look like. I asked them to take out their phones. They were shocked. 
Johny (pseudo name) said, "Mrs.Sethi are you sure you said to take out our phones." 
I said, "Yes now go around the campus find all the three angles, come back present to the class!"
All of them were in awe!