Sunday, August 6, 2017

Stressed out? Try Guided Meditation

I have to let you in on a little secret.

I have been working in the field of education since 2001 and every year (or before every presentation), I feel like I have never taught before. I am nervous to the point that it's almost impossible to sleep well, let alone relax.

To alleviate my symptoms, I have tried guided meditation.

At times, my mind it is comparable to a the track during the Indianapolis 500. There were days and nights during my 20s, where my mind could have fueled NASCAR as well.

Often this racing serves me well. I am a creative thinker and can complete tasks rapidly.

Sometimes though, I end up exhausted and depleted.

For much of my life, I have employed various interventions to cleanse the pallet that is my brain.  I have found that the most helpful "medicine" if I am an acute situation is guided meditation.

This not to be confused with meditation. I cannot do regular breathe in breathe out meditation because for some reason it causes my already burning thoughts to turn into a forest fire.

But guided meditation seems to work for me. Occasionally a negative thought or two will invade the meditation, and so I do my best to get rid of it or them. If they won't go away, I will just complete more guided meditations until they do.

And they do.

Below I am listing guided meditations that I have completed. Now the disclaimer: I have no training in this sort of thing. This is not in place of a psychologist or psychiatrist. This also just might not work for you. Also, if you feel suicidal or that you are going to harm yourself or someone else call 911.

As for the people leading the meditations, I have no clue as to whether they are excellent practitioners or total quacks. I cannot endorse them or their beliefs in any way. I can just endorse the particular guided meditation that has helped me break the negative cycle of ruminative thinking. 

Tip: Don't watch the video, just listen. Be seated or lie down in a dark room or at least close your eyes. Be comfortable. 





If there are guided meditations that you recommend, please include them in the comments section. A friend just recommended www.stopbreathethink.com. I'm going to check it out. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Recommendation from Colleague 1

Sharna and I have collaborated together as colleagues in the Social Studies Department teaching Middle East history to seniors and as colleagues who benefit from sharing materials, discussing curriculum and daily challenges when they arise.  I have found Sharna to be a very thorough, and mindful teacher, whose experience as an instructor of literature and English language carry over to her teaching of social studies.  For example, I have adopted some of her strategies for working with complex texts.  In Middle East history, she encouraged the use of a New York Times magazine article, “Fractured Lands” by Scott Anderson which became the basis of an extended project that was highly successful. Similarly her creative contextualized assessment  in which students role played analysts advising a female CEO on where to establish business headquarters in the Arab World was a fun, challenging and collaborative assignment that gave students another window into understanding the economics and politics of the region, which I have adopted. At the same time, she is ready to learn, adopt and adapt materials from my repertoire into her own. Sharna is ever ready to take on new challenges as she demonstrated by teaching International Relations.  Helpful, supportive with a wealth of talent, Sharna is a great colleague whom I have enjoyed working with both as a Department Chair and as a fellow teacher.  Sharna is also the president of our Teachers’ Association and does an efficient job calling and running meetings, disseminating minutes and being sensitive to the needs of many different stakeholders.


Abby Chill

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

LOTOL: Vocabulary Quiz

Here is an email I sent out to my students today. We spoke in class about how to be successful on vocabulary quizzes. I wanted the student to generate ideas as, although I write the tests, I do not take them.

Hi C and D Blocks,

In G Block today, I thought to ask students who were successful on the vocabulary quizzes what their secrets were. Here is what they said: 

1. Use a pencil
2. Right before the test, study only the words that you don't know. 
3. First, go through the vocabulary quiz and only answer and cross out the words that you are absolutely sure of. 
4. (This is different from #3) Write the words first under the lines and then when you are sure that it's correct, place it above the line. If you're unsure, write the different choices under the line. 
5. Use the exercises that are provided on the Macbeth Vocabulary PDF
6. Use Quizlet, but not exclusively. 

Good luck!

Ms. Marcus


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Generating Speech Topics Part 2

I am building on my activity from last year and spending more time on working with students to generate speech topics. I really want to encourage them to not just Google "speech topics" and do something that is meaningful to them.

They will answer the following questions individually that I wrote and then answer questions posed by their peers.

Then they will submit (if they want to) the answers in class. I will be their recorder. After each question we will discuss how their answers can be turned into a persuasive speech topic.

A side benefit to this thus far has been that their answers are really telling and informative and will help me connect to them as students.

January 4, 2017


  1. What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
  2. What are the three most challenging aspects of being a teenager?
  3. What are the three best parts of being a teenager?
  4. What are the three best parts of living in Israel?
  5. What are the three worst parts of living in Israel?
  6. What three things do you like most about this school?
  7. What three things do you like least about this school?
  8. If you could pick any five classes to take and not have to worry about requirements or anything else, what would they be?
  9. What are the three best parts of social media?
  10. What are the three worst parts of social media?
  11. If you could change three things in the world, what would they be?
  12. What are three things that your parents don’t know about you?
  13. What three things make a good parent?
  14. What three things make a good teacher?
  15. What three things make a bad teacher?
  16. What three news items concerned you over the past two weeks?
  17. If you had five million dollars to give away, what three charitable groups would you give it to?
  18. If you could go three places anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  19. If you could advise Mr. Trump on three things, what would they be?
  20. Where is your happy place?
  21. Who or what three people/things get on your nerves and why?
  22. What three things are not fair and why?
  23. What three things make a good friend?
  24. What three things make a bad friend?
  25. What is your ideal job? Student Generated:
  26. What are three things that make someone truly happy?
  27. If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be?
  28. If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be, and why?
  29. What makes up a good school?
  30. If you could change one thing that happened in 2016, what would it be?
  31. If you were stranded on a deserted island what is one thing or who is one person that you would bring?
  32. What is one of your biggest life regrets?  
  33. What are three reasons you like about music?
  34. Who are three people that you miss often?

Biggest Compliment As a Teacher


A student today told me that she is going to college because of my class. She wasn't interested in attending college, but now she is. This deserved it's own Blog entry!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Peer Feedback on Major Assignment

Peer feedback is controversial, but it's something in which I very much believe.

Today, I had students fill out a BINGO like card when viewing their peers' work. This is for an assignment for International Relations.

The students would spend 10 minutes looking at their peers' papers and for each square, they would award their peers either a green, yellow, or red sticker (green= good, yellow = needs work, red = isn't there).



I was very excited about this activity. However, many students were not at the point in the writing where they could adequately participate. Instead of forcing them to do so, I split the class in half and allowed the students who needed to keep writing to write, and the students who were ready for peer editing, to peer edit.

Normally, I would be more strict, but this is an elective class and it is the week before finals.

The students who did participate received great feedback and are continuing the editing process.