I am a reader. A always-have-a-book-in-my-bag-please-help-me-find-time-to-read-it kind of reader. And I savor the words, collecting them in my journal for later reflection.

I have a small Moleskine notebook that accompanies me wherever I go, just as Peak Marcello did as he climbed Mount Everest in Roland Smith’s Peak.In it, I jot down memorable and powerful quotes from the pages of the books I read, quotes that have stopped my reading in its tracks to connect to my own life, taught me life lessons, and helped me imagine new possibilities for myself. I even have a special album of photographs on my phone full of the pages that I do not want to forget and ultimately, hope to share with others.

That is why I love starting professional learning sessions with quotes. Some of the quotes I use are from my own collection and others are those I have found online through social media. Regardless of their origin, they promote deep thinking, remind us what is most important and help bring clarity to learning and to life. So, how do I do it?

My favorite way is through a simple table scatter. I’ll copy a page of a book that spoke to me and highlight the word, phrase or sentence that lit my heart on fire. Or, I’ll type a single sentence in a large font instead. I also collect books designed exactly for this purpose.

My favorite? Heart Talk by Cleo Wade.

This little gem has FANTASTIC quotes to stop us in our tracks and ponder the connections we can make. I have a hardcover copy for myself, but I purchased a soft cover copy that I took apart to scatter the actual pages on the tables because I love them so much.

The content of the quotes is up to you. You might choose motivational quotes to inspire teaching, themed quotes based on the time of year, quotes that are directly related to the content of your session or even quotes on taking the time to take care of ourselves as we settle in for shared learning.

As teachers enter your session, encourage them to read the quotes at their table and share their thinking with colleagues. You might even have them choose one that was most compelling for them personally and then walk across the room to connect with a fellow colleague. Not only does this get teachers reflecting, it helps them connect with other teachers they might not typically gravitate towards (because we are creatures of habit and tend to sit in the same place with the same people!).

Wondering where to begin? You might find these sites helpful in gathering some quotes to scatter around the tables:
One last note: Be sure to save your growing collection. I like to keep copies of the pages I use so I can recycle them later on with different groups of teachers. But sometimes, I ask teachers to jot their own thoughts on the pages to take with them for later reflection, so it helps to have a few copies on hand or tuck them away digitally, if you can, for easy printing.

So, what are your favorite quotes to use? Share yours in the comments below!
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  1. This is a great idea! Been searching for ways to engage teachers in the content that I will be supporting. Totally going to try this!


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