Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Neurodiversity and Exhaustion #EdChat #Neurodivergent

One of the things that people do not understand about Neurodivergent people is how tiring it can be to be neurodivergent. 

You see, hiding how neurodivergent you are on a day to day basis is tiring. It is easier to just hide the differences than it is to constantly explain to people why you are acting or responding a certain way. Constantly wearing a mask that shows everyone that everything is wonderful is taxing. It's really tough for the loved ones at home. 

At the end of a day of hiding neurodivergent tendencies, all filters are spent. All of the energy keeping it together has been spent and people at home get the husk of what remains. 

As adults, we are conditioned to keep "a stiff upper lip" or "fake it until you make it" approach to living life. That is easier said than done. For children who have not learned some, if any, coping techniques, the end of the day can be a minefield for parents. 

No easy solution can be found to solve all of the anxiety and exhaustion that being neurodivergent can bring.  The only thing neurodivergent people can do is ask others to be understanding and, for teachers specifically, think about the burden your neurodivergent students are carrying as they try to navigate childhood while trying to hide their neurodivergence from their peers. 

Lead with kindness. 


Monday, September 26, 2022

Can You Ever Just Be Whelmed? #MentalHealth #EdChat

That amazing idea is a direct quote from the amazing movie, "10 Things I Hate About You". The reason I have this quote bouncing around my head is because I have been thinking about the state of education for me and for thousands of other teachers around the world. To answer Chastity Church's question, yes, you can be whelmed

I feel like many teachers, myself included, are in this state of being. We are not overwhelmed with stuff going on, but we are not underwhelmed either. It is almost like we are waiting for that one last thing to push us from whelmed to overwhelmed. In terms of mental health, this can also be an exhausting place to live in your head. Waiting for the other shoe to drop is a type of anxiety that many people live with on a daily basis. It is weird though. You'd think that just being whelmed would be awesome. You are not dealing with too much or too little at the moment. It sounds good, but I think teachers have been conditioned to expect the worst. 

I teach in a pretty awesome situation. I know my sense of being whelmed pales in comparison to other educators whose sense of being whelmed is teetering closer to over than under. All I can think about are the different ways that I can avoid falling over the edge to overwhelmed. I wish there were easy answers. I wish that we didn't have to have active shooter drills as part of our new normal. Writing about these things can be very helpful for me and I appreciate everyone that listens and shares their thoughts with me. 

For all of the educators out there, I hope you have the pieces in place to help you find the balance you need in life to avoid becoming overwhelmed at work and underwhelmed by the support that is offered to you. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

It's Just A Phase #MakerEd #EdChat

I was thinking about the phrase, "It's just a phase" the other day after watching someone say it on a show I was watching. The phrase is funny to me. It is said as if it is not a big deal, but I think that is wrong. I think going through a phase is a big deal and we should encourage students and adults to go through them. Follow me on my logic here, 

A phase is a time where a child is trying something new. This could be a new style of clothing or possibly a new type of music (90's Swing Music anyone?). They will explore this new identity or hobby and claim it is who they are now. Instead of telling kids they are wrong or they will grow out of it, I think it should be encouraged. Exploring and trying new things is not easy. This is something that should be supported because you will never know what you love or don't without experimentation. If you have taught long enough, you have seen students evolve over the years because they try on many different hats. It is a fun conversation to have with them when they get older because they, like many of us, are embarrassed by their phases. I have some great pictures of me with tremendous 90210 inspired sideburns. We shouldn't be embarrassed. We should be proud that we tried something out that made us happy at the time. 

As teachers, I think it is easy to dismiss new pedagogical approaches as fads or just a phase another teacher is going through at the moment. There are plenty of things I have tried that I no longer do. I'm not embarrassed but them. I use them as points of growth along my educational journey. They are examples of where I have tried something to better support my students. I either do it because it is great, don't do it because there is something better, or I don't do it because it does not work how I want it to. Not matter the reason, I tried it for myself and I'm glad I tried it. 

The next time you think that someone is just going through a phase, also think about how you can cheer them on as they explore something new. 

Hugs and High Fives, 

N Provenzano

Monday, September 12, 2022

Cutting Board Challenge #MakerEd #AdobeEduCreative

We are starting the school year with some fun challenges in our Innovation and Design Level 2 class. I really want to focus on physical making with digital making as a support and design tool. Our first project will be using Adobe Creative Cloud Express to create their own logo. From there, we will use the laser cutter to put their logo on a keychain. Here is my example I will be using with the students,

From here, students will be design their own themed cutting board. I was able to get a bulk order of 5"x8" bamboo cutting boards for the class from Amazon. Students will design a PNG in ACCE and we will use the laser cutter to etch the design. Their logo will go on the back. Once they have created their cutting board, they will need to create an ad for it. Here is my example,

One of the things I trying to do this year is not make my examples over the top. I spent lots of time on other examples in the past and I had students say they would not be able to match my example. I think that impacted their effort. For first time project examples, I'm going to scale back the examples until I can use student examples. 

All of these examples and projects will live in their portfolio on Seesaw. By the end of the trimester, I hope to have each student with a collection of their design work. 

Feel free to share some thoughts and ideas on how I could tweak this to make it better. I appreciate all of the feedback. 

Hugs and High Fives, 

N Provenzano

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Teaching, Mental Health, and Stuffing My Face #EdChat

The start of the school year is tough for so many reasons. One of them is the act of getting back into the school routine of your life. I've spent the Summer sleeping in, working out on a regular schedule (for the most part), and using the bathroom whenever I needed. Being back at school changes all of that. 

I have a 40 minute drive to work in the morning and I need to be at school by 7:15ish or else I get stuck in traffic and will never be to school on time for our 7:50 meetings. That means I have to be up and out the door by 6:30ish. Working out has been a huge part of managing my mental health. It sets my brain on the right path for the day and fills me with the good energy. I would need to get up over an hour earlier to get in a good workout and make it to school on time. 

Working out after school is tough. I'm tired and I just want to hang with the family and see how the day went. It is tough to want to do an ab workout after running around school all day chasing 6th graders to make sure they have all of their supplies. I wish there was a simple answer here, but I can't find it. 

Another part of being back to school is adjusting my bladder schedule and my water intake. I can't just down all of the water I want during the day because I will be with students and will only have a 5 minute window every 75 minutes to have my bio break. That can really take its toll on the body the first couple of weeks. 

All of this is going on while I'm trying to come up with new lessons, learn student names, and keep everyone engaged. If I had the time, I would be stuffing my face with food to deal with the anxiety of it all, so I guess that one of the good things to come out of all this. Avoiding the stress eating is a bit easier. 

Taking some time in the morning in my room alone with some meditation helps and, sometimes, if the drive to school was really short and it is nice out, I might take a 20 minute walk outside. Trying to find the little windows of mental and physical health support is the best I can do right now and sometimes, the best you can do right now is the good enough. 

I hope all of you out there are finding these little moments of personal support and know that it is ok that you are doing your best, even if it is not exactly where you want to be.

Hugs and High Fives, 


Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Welcome Back 2022/2023 School Year #EdChat

Welcome back everyone! After a restful vacation I am back at it on the website. I look forward to sharing all of the ins and outs of MakerEd, PBL, and whatever nerdy edu-content that comes to my mind. 

It was not an easy year for many educators and I am hoping for some sense of normality, but I'm not even sure what that means. There are things that have changed because of the pandemic and there's no going back and that is good and bad. I hope to explore some of those issues on here and other places that allow me to share those edu-thoughts. 

Most importantly, I want all of the teachers out there to know that they are not alone. Being a teacher is tough in the best circumstances and things are not the best right now. Remember that we are all carrying burdens others cannot see and that we are all trying our best. Mental Health needs to be a priority for all of you out there. Feel free to reach out to me here or on other parts of the internet. Make time for you so you can have happy no school related time. 

I am never truly sure what I'm going to write on my site on any given day (long time readers have known that for a while), but I promise to continue to share the ups and the downs. As I start to better understand how my neurodivergent brain works, I look forward to sharing what I take away and how that can help students and other teachers. I'm really going to be leaning into how different my brain is and see what I can learn. 

Sending all of your big time Hugs and High Fives. Don't be strangers.

N Provenzano