2018-2019 Year End Reflection – Quizlet & Visual Vocabulary

2018-2019 is over.

Time to REFLECT!

Ferndale Middle School implemented Opportunity Culture MultiClassroom Leaders for Math, ELA and Science (my subject specialty).  Thanks also to Public Impact for being a part of this implementation as well.  I was able to assist 10 science/social studies teachers in our building by co-planning, co-teaching, modeling, observing, coaching, and more as a MultiClassroom Leader II.  I was also able to impact the ~750 scholars in our building.  Big jump from the 100 I worked with while my classroom at Allen Jay Prep. There were several challenges throughout the year, but let’s break it down …

What we did … Quizlet & Visual Vocabulary.

I’ve read several articles & books plus attented numerous professional development workshops regarding vocabulary.  From the pile of these possibilities came two epic strategies – Quizlet & Visual Vocabulary!

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The moment I found Quizlet was the moment I freed up a ton of instructional time in and out of the classroom.  I let go of the creation of vocabulary flashcard lists that took hours to create and were often lost, misplaced or never done.  If you’re a North Carolina Science Teacher, then enjoy our created lists here.

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I started creating Visual Vocabulary Powerpoints roughly three years ago.  I realized that scholars truly couldn’t “see” information we had listened to, read or interacted with.  They needed to fill in the blanks of their imagination with something concrete.  Words on a flashcard or page can have little cognitive value, but pictures can unlock a full understanding.  Every vocabulary word in our Quizlet came with a beautiful picture!  Let the creativity flow and the visualization will follow!  If you’re a North Carolina Science Teacher, then enjoy our created powerpoints for 6th, 7th and 8th grade Science.

Why we did … Quizlet & Visual Vocabulary.

The NC Grade 6 /7 Final Exams and the NC Grade 8 End-of-Grade Test are basically reading assessments with few visuals.  Here is a released assessment from 2015.  If our scholars could not bring key words to life, then they would be at a disadvantage to show competency.  Attempting to answer the question below becomes daunting if critical words (like Upwelling) cannot pop off the page.

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VARK is a popular learning styles tool that can assist an educator and scholar better recognize how their brain best learns information.  Are you a visual, auditory, reading or kinesthetic learner?  Or perhaps you are multi-modal like a number of individuals and utilize the whole brain for learning?  Try the tool for yourself here.  VARK is referenced here because the content scholars hear, read and interact with needs to come alive in key moments to demonstrate content competency.  Quizlet & Visual Vocabulary equipped all of our scholars with content knowledge and imagery to better demonstrate mastery of content.  We based this off of the hypothetical graphic below from Learn-Vark.

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Vocabulary recognition & comprehension open so many doors for a scholar.  It can bring text to life in an instant.  We put in the hard work to create Quizlets and Visual Vocabulary Powerpoints for each NC Grade 6-8 Science Unit.  This article from Deena Seifert on InferCabulary.com explains why we brought these two resources to our scholars for standardized testing and much more.
  • 1 It Improves Reading Comprehension. Research has shown that kids need to understand 98% of the words they read to understand what they are reading. Improving vocabulary skills will improve their understanding of novels and textbooks.

    2 It’s Important to Language Development.  Children who develop a rich vocabulary tend to be deeper thinkers, express themselves better and read more. Improving language and literacy skills early in life will help them be more successful academically and communicatively.

    3 Communicating Ideas. Successful communication or “saying what you mean” is dependent upon a good vocabulary base. Using the right words when talking, makes you a more effective communicator.

    4 Expressing Yourself in Writing. Having a good vocabulary to draw from can help you write more effectively. Students need to use a more formal tone when writing – not conversational language – and to do that, they need a richer vocabulary to tap into those words we don’t use when we speak.

    5 Occupational Success. Researcher Johnson O’Connor found that “a person’s vocabulary level is the best single predictor of occupational success.”* Success in the business place depends on your communication skills. 

How we did … Quizlet & Visual Vocabulary.

QUIZLET – In the room, this kept from the mundane task of copying information and allowed us to interact individually (Flashcards, Learning, Writing, Spelling, Testing), in small groups (Matching & Playing Gravity) and as a whole class (Via the “Live” Game).  Out of the room, those supporting scholars knew exactly what was being learned by accessing these lists digitally.

VISUAL VOCAB PPT’s – Some teachers gave access to families & scholars.  Some used a whole class interactive game.  Some utilized these in 1-on-1 or small group interactions with scholars.  Some even created interactive bulletin boards!

Results from … Learning Environment / Classroom Decoration.

GROWTH!  Scholars & Teachers utilized their learning environment / classroom decoration to maintain connection to the learning process & scholar personal interest.  We believe this lead to high scholar engagement compared to 2017-2018.  The data below shows a substantial decrease in Level 1’s with growth in Levels 2-5.  Our scholars were inspired by teachers to perform their best because we gave them our best all year long.

Data Comparision

If you or your school are interested in knowing more, then feel free to comment below or reach out to me personally.  Thanks for tuning in!

2018-2019 Year End Reflection – Learning Environment / Classroom Decoration

2018-2019 is over.

Time to REFLECT!

Ferndale Middle School implemented Opportunity Culture MultiClassroom Leaders for Math, ELA and Science (my subject specialty).  Thanks also to Public Impact for being a part of this implementation as well.  I was able to assist 10 science/social studies teachers in our building by co-planning, co-teaching, modeling, observing, coaching, and more as a MultiClassroom Leader II.  I was also able to impact the ~750 scholars in our building.  Big jump from the 100 I worked with while my classroom at Allen Jay Prep. There were several challenges throughout the year, but let’s break it down …

What we did … Learning Environment / Classroom Decoration.

When I stepped foot onto the campus of Allen Jay Middle: A Preparatory Academy, I was challenged to create a learning environment that wow’d my scholars.  My first year was pretty lame, ha!  I learned quite a bit from those scholars and through self reflection and check out versions 2.0 & 3.0 below.  2.0 comes from 2015-2016 when I taught 6th Grade Math/Science.  3.0 comes from 2016-2018 when I taught 8th grade Science.

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And if you’re wondering, “is that the same ceiling in two different rooms?”  The answer would be YEP!  Back in 2016 myself and some colleagues / family assisted in one of the largest puzzles ever.  Check out version 4.0 from this past school year at Ferndale Middle School with a little before & after.

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What I’ve been doing for the past four years of my educational career is trying to create an inviting and amazing place to learn.  Scholars, staff, visitors and myself loved our learning environments!  I chose to BE the example.  At the start of the year, scholars and staff came by my room and “Marvel”ed at the transformation.  I chose to SET the standard.

Check out some examples from this past year at Ferndale Middle.  Proud of our staff for bringing their classrooms to life!

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Why we did … Learning Environment / Classroom Decoration.

We reviewed this article from Edutopia throughout the year.  The site connects research studies to the “Dos and Don’ts” of our topic.  Their list was the norm we aspired to throughout the year to meet the needs of our scholars.
  • Display student work. Students not only feel a greater sense of responsibility for their learning but are also more likely to remember the material (Barrett et al., 2015).
  • Feature inspiring role models. Putting up images—and short stories or quotes—featuring heroes and leaders can help students gain a greater sense of belonging and aspiration, especially when their backgrounds and interests are represented. Strive for inclusion, but avoid token or stereotypical representations—they can be damaging to students’ self-esteem (Cheryan et al., 2014).
  • Avoid clutter. Keep at least 20 percent of your wall space clear, and leave ample space between displays so they don’t look disorganized. Resist the temptation to keep adding decorations—it’s better to swap them out than to keep adding more (Barrett et al., 2015).
  • Visual aids—like anchor charts, maps, and diagrams—are OK. Posters that reinforce a lesson, rather than distract from it, can boost student learning. But don’t forget to take down ones that are no longer helpful (Carney & Levin, 2002Bui & McDaniel, 2015).
  • Avoid displays of student scores or grades. Many teachers use data walls to motivate students, and while they can work for high performers, they can backfire for struggling students, leading to feelings of shame and demoralization (Marsh et al., 2014).
  • Let in natural light. Don’t cover up your windows with decorations unless you have a problem with glare or outside distractions. Students who are exposed to more natural light in their classrooms outperform peers who get less natural light in math and reading (Cheryan et al., 2014). If you don’t have windows, making sure the room is well lit can boost achievement (Barrett et al., 2015).
  • Balance wall colors. You don’t have to stick with four white walls—try having a single feature wall painted a bright color, with the rest being muted (Barrett et al., 2015).

How we did … Learning Environment / Classroom Decoration.

We challenged teachers to utilize their rooms in new and inviting ways.  I believe that the biggest challenge we faced was consistency.  Maintaining an epic location takes buy-in and support from all stakeholders.  Staff have to set the example and show scholars what goes into keeping a room inviting and clean.  Scholars can support the vision and hard work of the staff member.  Middle schoolers are a bit on the messy side, but that’s what learning is.  It is taking us from the messy to the magnificent.  The second challenge we grew in was interactivity.  We wanted our rooms to be a showcase for our scholars.  What amazing creations could we share with their peers and with visitors?

Check out some examples from our staff from this past year …

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Results from … Learning Environment / Classroom Decoration.

GROWTH!  Scholars & Teachers utilized their learning environment / classroom decoration to maintain connection to the learning process & scholar personal interest.  We believe this lead to high scholar engagement compared to 2017-2018.  The data below shows a substantial decrease in Level 1’s with growth in Levels 2-5.  Our scholars were inspired by teachers to perform their best because we gave them our best all year long.

Data Comparision

If you or your school are interested in knowing more, then feel free to comment below or reach out to me personally.  Thanks for tuning in!

2018-2019 Year End Reflection – Data Analysis

2018-2019 Year End Reflection – Data Analysis

2018-2019 is over.

Time to REFLECT!

Ferndale Middle School implemented Opportunity Culture MultiClassroom Leaders for Math, ELA and Science (my subject specialty).  Thanks also to Public Impact for being a part of this implementation as well.  I was able to assist 10 science/social studies teachers in our building by co-planning, co-teaching, modeling, observing, coaching, and more as a MultiClassroom Leader II.  I was also able to impact the ~750 scholars in our building.  Big jump from the 100 I worked with while my classroom at Allen Jay Prep. There were several challenges throughout the year, but let’s break it down …

What we did … Data Analysis.

I implemented the usage of EVAAS projections for our 6th, 7th & 8th grade scholars in science.  We were able to establish their anticipated projectile & anticipated % correct from the state information.  This information was used throughout the school year to determine growth or decline assessment by assessment.  I had utilized this primitively at Thomasville Middle, but improved it while at Allen Jay Prep.  It was a challenge to implement with ~750 scholars at Ferndale, but a majority of teachers bought right in!

Here’s the template …

Data Analysis Blank Template
Incorporating projected achievement data to prepare for critical data collection throughout the school year.  Along with 10 question Unit Assessments, we gathered data online for scholars/families/teachers to review through 10 question objective quizzes.  All assessments were multiple choice.

Why we did … Data Analysis.

I wanted my teachers to be able to assist scholars on a day by day basis regarding content acceleration or remediation.  Along with formative assessment techniques, we wanted to keep scholars & families aware of progress.  A long range view of the year and being transparent with scholars/families was a priority.  The A/B scale of report card grading does not correlate to the system used by End-of-Grade testing (Levels 1-5).  We knew the projections of our scholars and communicated that to them.  When they scored above their target, we celebrated!  Even if that projection was a Level 1 @ 32% correct, we celebrated a test score of 33%.  When we connected support to the relativity of each scholar’s performance based on EVAAS projections, we immediately were able to look objectively at scholars and target specifically what their needs were.  Scholars could tell that we cared.  And scholars could tell that “getting an A” wasn’t the norm.  The norm we created was “now you know, where will you go?”  We worked hard on growth mindset the entire year by leading through objective information.

Here is an example spreadsheet with data …

Teacher Data Template Example
Teacher Name & Scholar Names hidden for privacy reasons.  Notice that we calculated local test averages in green, county benchmark assessments in blue and averaged that in yellow.  Utilizing this calculation, we saw a -0.08% accuracy in comparing the yellow column to End-of-Grade testing % correct.

How we did … Data Analysis.

We utilized pre-assessments, objective quizzes (roughly 2-4 objectives per unit) and post-assessments to determine acceleration/remediation in over 20 areas per grade level in science.  Each of our assessments were 10 question multiple choice assessments.  Scholars were encouraged to annotate and address misconceptions.  The pre & post assessment scores were kept in the above data spreadsheet.  Each objective quiz was administered online using SchoolNET.  Our scholars had access to their results immediately & throughout the year to determine celebrations & misconceptions.  Everyone knew exactly what was needed regarding acceleration or remediation.

Here’s an example of an assessment …

8.L.3.2 Objective Quiz
Unpacking NC State Essential Standards in Science, determining high rigor questions, and collaborating to review the assessment were parts of the process leading up to administration to scholars.

Results from … Data Analysis.

GROWTH!  Scholars & Teachers utilized their strategic data to inform lesson planning, corrective instruction and so much more during the year.  We believe this lead to high scholar engagement compared to 2017-2018.  The data below shows a substantial decrease in Level 1’s with growth in Levels 2-5.  Our scholars were inspired by teachers to perform their best because we gave them our best all year long.

Data Comparision

If you or your school are interested in knowing more, then feel free to comment below or reach out to me personally.  Thanks for tuning in!

18.07.20 – Humming & A Forbes List

This week I came across an article in Forbes titled 3 Foods You Probably Eat That Are Dangerous For Your Brain According to Science by Jon Levy (https://goo.gl/E8UjK1).

Stick with me here … there’s a connection between humming and diet that I found quite interesting …

The article begins with a story about the deterioration of a mother’s cognitive ability.  She was asked to pass the salt and the neurological pathway took four to five seconds instead of the usual instantaneous response.  By the year 2050, it is estimated that 14 to 16 million United States citizens will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  That information comes from the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org.

The article lists these three foods: fast-burning carbs (sugar-filled beverages, junk food, saltine crackers & wheat thins), industrial cooking oils (canola, soybean and grapeseed oils) and processed food additives (emulsifiers like polysorbate-80 and carboxymethylcellulose).  The conclusion Levy makes is that Alzheimer’s and dementia coincide with vasoconstriction (smaller blood vessels prone to clogging in the brain and body), poisoning of mitochondria (inhibits the brain’s ability to produce energy) and creating metabolic dysfunction (leading to shrinkage of the brain).  The common denominators here … the body & the brain.

Here’s where the #yoga and breathing come in.  Let’s use the body to assist the brain.  Author Patrick McKweon, The Oxygen Advantage, educates his readers on the gas nitric oxide.  This simple gas influences all the major systems and organs of our body, helps keep us free from diseases (like cancer), promotes longer lives and even helps us perform in bed.  And also …

  • Vasoregulation – The opening and closing of blood vessels.
  • Homeostasis – The way in which the body maintains a state of stable physiological balance in order to stay alive.
  • Neurotransmission – The messaging system within the brain.
  • Immune Defense – The body’s ability to respond to foreign invaders.
  • Respiration – The regulation of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.
  • Athletes – The dilation of smooth muscle layers for better oxygen transfer during exercise.

In Pantanjali’s Eight Limbs of #yoga, it is important to realize or recall the opportunity we have for optimal health through our breathing (pranayama).  One specific breath technique that increases nitric oxide content is BEE’S BREATH (Brahmari’s Breath).

#1 – Here’s how … (credit https://goo.gl/mwBEw2 & https://goo.gl/jnMxAA)

#2 – Here’s what is sounds like …

#3 – Here’s how long and often to practice …

  • Yoga International says 6 Rounds (inhale & exhale being one round) – https://goo.gl/8ua4RE
  • LifeForce Yoga says 10 Breaths (inhale & exhale being one breath) – https://goo.gl/jnMxAA
  • AnxietySlayer states 5 to 10 Breaths (inhale & exhale being one breath – https://goo.gl/tQugt6
    • Be sure to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY as it responds to this breath technique and choose the number of breaths that connect to your uniqueness.
  • Practice once or twice daily and adjust based on results from discussions with your body and your primary care physician.

#4 – Here are the contraindications …

  • Practice on an empty stomach for optimal health.

Conclusion – Let’s take the time to be aware of our diet and supplement our body with Bee’s Breath daily.  

If you would like to learn more about this technique, then please comment below or click “Contact Me” at the top of the page.  I would be honored to assist you in optimizing your health or the health of someone near to you.

YogaFred 🙂

And if you’re especially intrigued … check out this current research article … Getting to NO Alzheimer’s Disease: Neuroprotection versus Neurotoxicity Mediated by Nitric Oxide
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677236/

17.01.05 – Inflamed: Welcome to your Microbiome!

Our digestive system is the foundation for wellness & immunity, having the highest concentration of immune cells in our entire body.  It was Hippocrates who first said, “all disease begins in the gut.”
Inflamed by Shelly Malone – Amazon

What if I told you that our gut could be the epicenter for gas, bloating and poop issues? Continue reading “17.01.05 – Inflamed: Welcome to your Microbiome!”

16.12.29 – Inflamed: What is a “lifestyle disease?”

And when almost one-half of all Americans (and 50% of our children) live with some type of chronic health condition and 38 million people across the globe die each year from preventable “lifestyle disease,” it is time for us to take notice and put some energy towards addressing the root cause of the issue.
Inflamed by Shelly Malone – Amazon

So the question becomes … what is the issue? Continue reading “16.12.29 – Inflamed: What is a “lifestyle disease?””

Pose Breakdown – 15.08.20 – Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child’s Pose, or Balasana, is a foundational pose that has so many interesting variations.  If we are tight through the extensor muscles on the top of the foot, then we curl our toes.  If our hips are tight, then we can use our elbows or a block to elevate the hips to comfort.  We can also leave our knees in line with our shoulders or take our knees to the edges of our mat.  Our arm position can be forward … to the side … or to the rear of our mat.  With all of these beautiful variables to fit so many unique body types, child’s pose allows for an opportunity to rest, relax and check in with our physical body.  Therefore, child’s pose should be our pose in the moment and not one that is predefined as we enter.  The guide below from Yoga Journal should be one that we explore rather than submit to.  Enjoy learning about our body each time that we sink into child’s pose, balasana.

Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.

Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs. Broaden your sacrum across the back of your pelvis and narrow your hip points toward the navel, so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.

Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor. Feel how the weight of the front shoulders pulls the shoulder blades wide across your back.

Balasana is a resting pose. Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Beginners can also use Balasana to get a taste of a deep forward bend, where the torso rests on the thighs. Stay in the pose from 1 to 3 minutes. To come up, first lengthen the front torso, and then with an inhalation lift from the tailbone as it presses down and into the pelvis.
(http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/child-s-pose/)

Health Benefits (http://www.yogabasics.com/asana/child/)

    Benefits: Child pose calms the body, mind and spirit and stimulates the third eye point. Child pose gently stretches the low back, massages and tones the abdominal organs, and stimulates digestion and elimination.

    Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the knees.  Ask for a modification if pregnant.

Pose Breakdown – 15.07.28 – Knees to Chest (Apanasana)

Knees to chest, or Apanasana in Sanskrit, took patience for me to realize the benefits.  As an athlete turned Yogi, I wanted to feel strength being built in each posture.  Warrior 1, Warrior 2 … Warrior YES!  It wasn’t until I connected with my breath that I started to feel my erector spinae (long group of muscles traveling down our back) lengthen.  In my body, as with most of us in Western society, as we lean forward at a desk, in a car or holding a cell phone, we strengthen our back but become deficient in our core.  Knees to chest offers us an opportunity to take our tight back muscles and release tension.  This allows for the removal of chronic pain and the chance for us to build a more helpful core.

Start with a sitting position on the ground with your feet flat, spaced at a distance greater than your hips-width. While inhaling, bring your arms forward. While exhaling, let your torso fall slowly to the ground and lie flat on your back.

Now increase the length of your torso by extending your arms further. After that, pull in your knees close to the chest and clasp them with your extended hands. You should look as if you are hugging your knees. Your shoulder blades should be relaxed and collarbones should be spread wide.

Now rock your body from one side to other as your relax your lower back. You should insert your chin in between your knees in order to protect your posterior neck. You may also use a blanket beneath your head if you experience a bit too much discomfort during the rocking portion of the pose.
http://www.lovemyyoga.com/knee-to-chest-pose.html 

One modification that can be helpful for those of us with sore knees is to place the hands behind the thigh instead of on the front of the knee.  I usually cue this in my classes as it is a safer approach.

Health Benefits (http://www.lovemyyoga.com/knee-to-chest-pose.html)

  • Eliminates painful lower back.
  • Helps alleviate gastro-intestinal pain and the physical pain associated with menstruation.
  • Relieves constipation.
  • Reduces tension in the lower back and aids in removing the sciatic nerve pain.
  • Helps resolve Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Pose Breakdown – 15.07.18 – Standing Mountain (Tadasana)

Standing Mountain, or Tadasana in Sanskrit, is one of the five foundational poses that has evolved for me over time.  In my first ever Yoga class, I remember standing with my shoulders hunched forward and feeling as if time was being wasted.  As I grew in my awareness of my physical body, I began to discover dynamic tension.  Dynamic tension asks us to investigate the pulling of our muscles in opposite directions.  My Standing Mountain went from letting my shoulders hunch forward and my mind becoming bored to a posture that brought beads of sweat to my forehead.

Challenge ourselves to stand upright, feet hips distance apart and spread our toes wide.  Pressing into our mat with our entire foot we begin to activate dynamic tension and disobey gravity here.  Soften the knees enough for a tiny bend (no one wants to be that person at a wedding that falls over from our knees being locked out) and let our belly be pulled in toward our spine.  As our shoulders roll back, let our fingers become active in reaching toward the floor.  The crown of our head reaches skyward allowing our spine to lengthen.  Continue to cycle our consciousness through these different points of emphasis.  Hold the posture for five full breaths.  How do we feel?

Feel free to repeat for fewer or more breaths as we feel necessary.  This posture can also be completed in a chair at home, work or even in our car (please keep both hands on the wheel though if driving).  Always investigate and ask how we feel :).  Who knows what we might learn about our body.

Health Benefits (http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/mountain-pose/

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Firms abdomen and buttocks
  • Relieves sciatica
  • Reduces flat feet

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PERFORMANCE YOGA – 06.08.15 (Do What You Have Been Coached to Do!)

Who drives our performance … spectators or us?

Modern society does not like to accept us for who we are.  It will constantly distract us from who we are to build a persona that does not fit us.  It would like for us to fit it’s perceived reality and consequently destroy our authentic self in an attempt to appease the masses.  It will yell and scream at us in our moments of failure and display jealousy in our moments of success.  Is there a way to appease the world around us?

No.  An answer of “no” to that question drives a stress response in our bodies.  We want to be loved and admired.  When we cannot meet the requirements of others, we become stressed and our bodies suffer.  It is our deepest fear that we are powerful in who we are, but the world will not accept who we are.  So a different question should then be asked.  Should I do what I have been coached to do?

Throughout life we have mentors and friends that allow us to bring our authentic self out for the world to see.  We all receive coaching to find the depth of ourselves.  Re-frame the thought process and our intention.  Our performance and life are not for others.  They are for us.  Step out, be who we are right now and let our abilities define us.  Embrace our abilities, our role and give weight to that which we can control (Interval pace, stick handling, cross-over, training, etc).  The reactions of others are for them.  Look in the mirror … what have you been coached to do?

BOOK – “The Champion’s Mind:  How Great Athletes think, train and thrive.” by Jim Afremow
Do What You Have Been Coached to Do!

“Your job when you play is not to win or please others – that’s beyond your control.  Instead, your job is to do what you have been coached to do by carrying out your specific assignments with the right attitude to the best of your abilities – that’s within your control.

Know what your job is and do your job.

Knowing your responsibilities and doing your job is how you can magnify the relevant aspects of your performance while shrinking everything that is irrelevant.

Embracing your role on the team is how you can be true to what it is you are doing.