Visualize Your Goals: 30 Goals Cycle 7

For various reasons, I’m digging through a lot of communities and bloggers I used to follow with dedication. That led me back to the 30 Goals Challenge, which I really enjoyed. It’s a great way to be inspired as a teacher, writer, and a blogger. So here’s my entry for Goal 1 of Cycle 7 Visualize Your Goals
Visualize Your Goals

My Two Main Goals

My two goals are in the center and they’re quite broad, but I suspect quite straightforward: To make a living and to be happy. I should point out that making a living for me is about more than just making money or eating and sleeping. It’s about being productive, which is something that’s important to me.

I’ve then illustrated three branches or kinds of activities that make me happy and help me make a living.

The Three Branches

On the bottom left, there’s networking and reaching out to other teachers, including talking (I don’t know why those faces look so scary), social media, and a shout out to 30 Goals and communities like it.

On top, there’s the bulk of my work: writing and promoting my writing. Of course, there’s a wonderful overlap where I reach out to communities to help market my book and get swept back into those communities again and improve my teaching. That’s the best kind of professional development cycle!

Finally, there’s the part of my life that is sheer fun. I think it’s important to map fun and plan for it as you would work. So there’s family time with my son and my hobbies, like playing guitar, reading, and  working in the garden. That sprawling thing is meant to be a tomato plant but it kind of looks like green river now, which is fine.

What are your goals? What do they look like? How will you get there? Leave a comment or join 30Goals and Visualize your Goals as well!

50 Activities for the First Day of School

50 Activities for the First Day of School by Walton Burns

50 Activities for the First Day of School by Walton Burns

My book is officially for sale!

50 Activities for the First Day of School is a collection of activities teachers can use on the first day of school or anytime they need an icebreaker or team building activity. While aimed at the English language classroom, the book is useful to any teacher who wants to start the school year out right!

This book features

  • Classic icebreakers and name games
  • Fun ways to start teaching on the first day
  • New innovative activities to build rapport
  • Practical ideas to set the rules from day one
  • Engaging ways to introduce the course right away
  • Effective methods of assessing your students’ language level

You can also find more information on the book and great first day of school resources at The First Day of School webpage.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Resources

This is just a quick reminder that my Charlie Brown Christmas lesson plan is part of my premium content. If you want a taste, you can check out the free Charlie Brown Thanksgiving lesson plan which is available to all. The Christmas lesson includes a discussion of secular celebrations of a holiday versus more meaningful celebrations, comprehension questions, and a summary to help you understand what is going on (and where to skip) and some help teaching vocabulary.

It’s a fun video to introduce Christmas traditions with and it’s also a great video to play the memory or verb tense game with by playing 30-60 seconds and then having students write down everything they can remember happening. If you restrict them to a verb tense.

Visual Design for Writers

I have been developing my Resources for Writing page and I haven’t forgotten about my passion for Visual Design and Resource Writing. In fact, I’ve added a visual design resource list including some nice presentations from Purdue University’s OWL page and a fun set of activities that highlight the role of color and our associations with them. Feel free to add more in the comments!

Web Design: Custom Post Types

Another web design post about something that I think sets my site apart from others, my lesson plan formats. I really struggled adding custom post templates to Twenty Fourteen/Sequel so I thought I would share my solution here in case any one else has been suffering as I have.

The Twenty Fourteen theme claims that all you have to do is add a file called content-name of custom post type.php to your theme or child theme file and the theme will use that to display your custom post type. I found that that did not work. I ended up having to create a single-name of custom post type.php file just like in every other theme. However then came the problem of mashing up the single.php file and the content.php file to get it to work right. This took a great deal of care, perhaps because the last time I really dug into a template file like this, the coding was much simpler.

div=entry meta
get sidebar
get footer

Now there’s a million arrays and variables and the word ‘twenty fourteen’ is everywhere–does that actually do something?

Anyway, I am sharing my single-lesson.php file with you so you can take a look and figure out how to add content in yourself. Now I’m doing this partly because I have some big plans to move beyond this template and create something much more elegant and unique. But I do this helps people who ran into the same frustrations I did.

Call for New Ways in Teaching With Humor

Call for New Ways in Teaching With Humor.

Editor John Rucynski, Jr. seeks contributors for a volume in TESOL’s New Ways Series entitled New Ways in Teaching With Humor. The content will include teaching ideas and activities for using or teaching about humor in English in the following categories:

English word play (e.g., puns and riddles)
Humor in English-speaking pop culture (e.g., scenes from humorous movies, sit-coms, animation)
Humor in mass media (e.g., humorous headlines, editorial cartoons)
Humor and digital literacy (e.g., humor in social networking, such as Facebook memes)
Humor and social issues (e.g., satire, political cartoons)
Humorous techniques for teaching language points (e.g., grammar rules, pronunciation, phonology)

In all of the above areas, we particularly welcome research-informed perspectives which manage to use humor as a tool for providing insights into language and/or culture.

If you would like to contribute, please contact John Rucynski ([email protected]).