Teaching BLUE: Using the True Colors Personality Test in the Classroom

This post is part of a series of posts on teaching to different personality types as found in the True Colors Personality Test. To see more, head here.

The color blue has often been used to represent sadness but that is not the case with a blue personality. Those with a blue personality often take on the roles of peacemaker and caretaker. These are the students who are enthusiastic, compassionate, and idealistic. Consequently, they are also the students who are easily stressed out by conflict and negative criticism. They want their peers to look up to them, but not for their academic achievements–blues want to be recognized for their authenticity and ability to make friends.

Don’t be surprised if these students also score as ENFJ and ESFJ personality types. They are eager to learn and help others and they are constantly asking how their actions can benefit others. They dream big dreams and are comfortable going with the flow but they still like to plan for things–mostly because they are always thinking of how they can use their time to benefit others.

They prefer to let their emotions guide them. As someone with a blue personality, I find it difficult to dedicate myself to any material that I’m not passionate about and the second something makes me feel anxious or uncomfortable, I tend to abandon it completely. (I was also once exiled to the back of the classroom with nothing but a chair and a clipboard because I was too chatty. My teacher quickly realized that wouldn’t stop me from talking, it just meant I had to talk louder so people could hear me). Instead of trying to restrict these students even further, allow them to have free time and explore the subject in a way they can get excited about.

Blue personalities thrive on validation and it resonates most when praise is manifested in a physical way; a touch on the shoulder, high fives, and gold stars are good places to start. If you are vocalizing your appreciation it is best to be honest and sincere as well as enthusiastic. Because they rely so much on their emotions, they don’t handle criticism well and can become very withdrawn in situations where they’ve been chastised. If you do need to correct them, you can’t be too quick to also remind them that you still care about them.

Like McKenzie mentioned in her posts about Sensing and Intuitive students, it’s important to utilize both methods of learning. Blues are often already able to switch between the two pretty seamlessly and can use them simultaneously. They love hands-on activities and they absorb information more effectively when they can experience it. They learn by “connecting the dots” and using what they already know to bridge the gap from familiar concepts to new material. Blues are very intuitive and use that skill to make connections and apply what they are learning to their personal lives.

Your blue students might come across as overly-emotional, passive, and a bit of a pushover. If you want to help them grow, teach them the importance of boundaries and how to express their opinions. They have a tendency to avoid conflict and will try and stay away from competitive activities–start them out with small-scale classroom competitions where they won’t have to stress about the whole class watching. Keep an eye on the other students to make sure they aren’t taking advantage of a blue’s generosity and keep an eye on the blues to make sure they take a break from taking care of those around them and take care of themselves.

It is critical to foster their desire to help others. Let them help and influence others as often as possible. For those teaching high school students, present them with extra-curricular opportunities to volunteer. Provide them information on tutoring programs and service projects. Like gold personalities, blue students also do well in leadership roles because it allows them to make decisions that will help others.

What experiences have you had teaching students with a blue personality? How do you help them balance their social side with the structure of the classroom?

Teaching GOLD: Using the True Colors Personality Test in the Classroom

true colors personality testing, gold

This post is part of a series of posts on teaching to different personality types as found in the True Colors Personality Test. To see more, head here.

There has never been a better use for the term “solid gold” as there is for describing the gold personality types in your classroom. They are the dependable, responsible, and organized kids in your classroom. They flourish under the structure of the classroom and they like to plan for every detail of the day, month, and even the school year. These are the students that can easily become stressed by a disruption to their routine or when there is too much going on at once.

Much like the ENTJs and the INTJs of the Myers Briggs Personality Test, these students need clear objectives. Providing them with a visual goal and a written schedule can provide them a sense of stability and allow them to put their head down and dive into their work.

Gold students are typically on top of assignments and can often handle more work when needed. Consider assigning them “executive” tasks: passing out/collecting assignments, having them help with rearranging/reorganizing the classroom, even having them assist you in retrieving supplies from other teachers. These are the kids who get a thrill going into the teacher’s lounge because it shows them that the teachers trust them.

In order to help gold students feel valued, it’s crucial to be sincere and specific in your praise. They want to know their thoroughness, skills, and responsibility are recognized and appreciated. Make sure to remind them that their contributions are important to others and that they are an integral part of their class.

The best way to push your gold students is to challenge them to think about how their decisions affect others. Pair them with those who think in more abstract ways (think the blues and greens) to introduce them to new ideas and ways of seeing things. Give them support while showing them that the world won’t end if they don’t have a plan and caution them against passing judgment. Remind them to take breaks throughout the day as they have a tendency to put work before play, even if it means working overtime.

Other people might see their gold classmates as bossy, controlling, and judgmental so make sure to help the other students focus on gold’s dependability and their willingness to help solve problems. Encourage the other students to express their appreciation for the ways a gold contributes to the classroom. Help guide your students to rephrase the challenges that can come from working with a gold personality into positive opportunities for growth. Remind them that everyone has something unique and valuable to offer.

Someone with a gold personality might complain of psychosomatic symptoms when they are stressed; keep an eye out for the students who constantly complain of stomach aches or ask to call their parents to come pick them up. They are most likely feeling overwhelmed, so check in on them and see if you can help lighten their load.

Your gold students are most likely going to be a healthy mix of introverts and extroverts. The extroverted gold is probably the first student to raise their hand when the class is asked a question (a Hermione Granger, if you will), while the introverts are content to tune out others and get to work. Group projects can be challenging for gold personalities because they can feel held back by their peers and they don’t have space to think for themselves. However, because golds want to share their knowledge and absorb as much information as they can, keeping them in pairs or small groups works best. They can be stubborn at times and butt heads with other gold or orange personalities, but simplifying their differences down to colors can help them better understand each other and use those differences to their advantage.

For those teaching middle and high school students, encourage your gold students to sign up for honors classes. Discuss with them the idea of joining the debate team or applying for student leadership positions. They are probably already looking into extracurricular activities but some might not know where to start or which to choose so it’s important to provide them with the right resources.

Do you have any stories from teaching gold personality types? What have you done to help them be more flexible?

Maybe We Don’t Need To Be Worried About Our Future

the youth of our future is inspiring

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time talking and interacting with high school-aged students. This has been through our recent scholarship, through serving the youth of my community, and through visiting high schools to spread the word about our 2022 scholarship

I’ll have to admit, the last time I spent this much time with kids ages 14-18 was when I was that age! Though I’m not too far off in age from them (about ten years their elder), I still have felt a disconnect to this age and culture that I’ve had to reprogram my brain to figure out. And like the majority of our society, I originally looked at this age group and was worried about our future! The way they talked, dressed, thought, and even walked had me worried that someday our world would be run to the ground by these children when they turned into the adults that would be the leaders of the country. 

However, after more interactions and more conversations, my thoughts on their future flipped. 

Though they walked and talked and interacted differently than what I was used to, they are still filled with big ideas and dreams, and hopes for the future. They are still amazing leaders with budding skills on how to work together as a team to accomplish tasks they need to be done. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and check out our past winner’s page for our scholarship. There are 7 OUTSTANDING students that noticed a problem in their community and set out to solve it, whether in a group or by themselves with a mentor’s help. And these are just the winners! I read through dozens and dozens of applications with similar drives to help their community in some way. There was not one single application that did not deserve some recognition for the work they were doing, they were all inspiring. So you can imagine, choosing a winner was very, very hard. 

And this was just my interactions with high school-aged students applying for a scholarship. I’ve also been able to interact with the youth of my community through service in my church, as well as brief interactions with this age of kids in high schools. And yes, I will still always question why they are so into TikTok or why crop tops are the shirt of choice right now?? But the coolest thing about the human race is that we don’t all have to think, act, and dress alike to get along or understand one another. 

These 14-18-year-olds are coming into our society with newfound knowledge of technology, social media, teamwork skills, and more than we as older generations cannot comprehend or will never know. 

So, maybe we really don’t need to be worried about our future. Maybe this TikTok, crop top generation has a thing or two to teach us about life. 

A 2020 Year In Review For Honors Grad U

This may be a little cliche, but I think doing a year of review at the end of a year is not only fun, but important to look back on the growth and experience that came.

2020 was quite the year for everyone, it will be a year read about in history books for years and years to come. As far as 2020 goes for the Honors Grad U blog, it was a great year! It started by writing a series on using MBTI in the classroom, one that I loved researching and has helped many to learn more about how knowing personality traits in yourself and your students can make a vast difference.

In March, a global pandemic was declared, and a lot of my posts started revolving around COVID-19 and virtual teaching. One of my most popular posts came from this period of time, a letter to our 2020 graduates and part two.

Into April/ May I started up Feature Friday, which was so eye-opening to me to interview so many educators across the globe and learn more about them, as well as learn from their experiences teaching.

I started teaching preschool to my daughter, which led to a big chain of posts regarding early childhood education and some resources for all of the educators out there teaching this age group.

Books. I wrote about SO. MANY. BOOKS.

I became scholarship chair for the Design A Better Future Scholarship

School started in the fall in various different ways- in person, online, hybrid. Teachers were teaching in ways that have never even been attempted before! But also, students were learning in ways they’ve never had to learn before. They deserved a letter dedicated to them.

I started researching and writing about Enneagram in Education and how it can help us as students.

To end the year, I did a series of picture books for winter holidays beyond Christmas. This little research project has been very educational for me in learning more about different holiday celebrations and the history behind them.

It has been such a successful year of blogging and looking back I am grateful for those that made it that way. I’m ready to close this chapter called 2020 and excited to see what 2021 has in store for this site!

A Life-Changing Professor Teaching All Of Us

In college, I had this professor. You know the one that changes your life and puts you right on course for where you need to be? Yep, she’s the one. 

Dr. Mecham was my professor for my level two practicum (level four is student teaching, for perspective). On the very first day of class, she stood up in front of the roughly 150 students currently in the practicum and said, “This semester is going to be really hard. It will push you to a lot of limits and we will expect a lot from you. So if you feel like you need to switch to an easier major, perhaps engineering, then go ahead and talk to us and we can direct you to the correct advisors to help you make this switch.” 

I was blown away that she had the audacity to state that majoring in engineering would be an easier route than an education degree. I’ve never taken any engineering classes, so I cannot confirm or deny that her statements were true, but I will say that we were worked very hard by our professors and we were expected to perform to the highest standard that semester. 

During my practicum, it not only required 14 hours of classes a week but also being in an elementary school classroom every day of the semester working with a teacher to provide classroom experience. This time in the classroom was focused on working with students in small groups and one-on-one to slowly introduce us to eventually student teaching.

My practicum experience in the classroom was less than ideal, with a teacher that often sent me to the copy room to do mindless copy work and rarely let me work with students. There were multiple other problems I ran into, most of which I wish I would have been bold enough to stand up for myself, but at the time I wasn’t. 

After a semester of feeling discouraged and not very adequate as a teacher, I had my final interview with my professor, Dr. Mecham. I accomplished all of my school work, had a 4.0 GPA, and according to the books, it looked like I was the perfect candidate to continue my education degree.  However, my mental state said otherwise. Dr. Mecham was ready to pass me off and tell me I was ready to continue, but before so, she asked her final question that went something like, “Do you feel ready to move on and that you passed your level two practicum?” 

With tears in my eyes, I told her I couldn’t. I said that being a teacher must not be what I am supposed to do as a career, because I felt so inadequate in the classroom, and that I possibly needed to consider a new degree. 

She comforted me with compassion, asked details on why I was feeling this way, and reassured me that I wasn’t the problem, my situation was the problem. 

I left her classroom with a warm hug and felt better and more confident than ever before. She truly had just changed my life and kept me on the path as a teacher, one that I am still so happy to be on, even if I’m not actively teaching at the moment! 

A handful of times I ran into Dr. Mecham in grocery stores and other places throughout town. Every time she saw me she always stopped to say hello with a warm, welcoming smile. She always was ready to take the time to acknowledge an old student, which made me feel like a million bucks! 

About a year after being in her class, I was walking through campus with a new haircut. I happened to pass Dr. Mecham on my walk and the first thing she said was, “Oh cute new haircut! I like that style on you!” 

I want you to realize that Dr. Mecham hadn’t had me as a student in a full year. I had only seen her very briefly in passing a handful of times. And still, she recognized that I changed my hair! If you want to know the true definition of personal teaching, she is the icon for it. She also asked about my experience at college how far along I was in my program. I was happy to tell her that I would be student teaching soon, ready to take my final step in the program to reach graduation. She was elated for me! She knew how hard it was for me to get through my level two practicum and I knew she was the only reason I continued on. 

I thanked her again for telling me how truly hard it would be and preparing me to work hard. And for knowing me and my struggles through it all. I wasn’t just another student walking the halls of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education at Utah State University, I was a student of Dr. Mecham, someone she knew and cared about. And that made all the difference for me. 

I try to remember Dr. Mecham in my teaching experience. I try to get to know each of my students personally and pay attention to them as a human, not just someone to teach the curriculum to. 

And I strongly suggest you teach like Dr. Mecham too. 

You can read an interview I did with her earlier this year. Read her advice to pre-service teachers, it’s so good! 

 

An Open Letter To The Students Of 2020

Dear Students of 2020, 

Here you are! You are stepping into a world where no one has gone before. You are attempting to continue your education during a global pandemic. Someday your kids and grandkids are going to read about you in history books. 

They are going to read about your Chromebooks and iPads sent home to you from your schools for virtual learning. 

The face mask mandates in the districts and the creative face shields to replace masks.

They are going to see pictures of desks 6 feet apart and hanging sheets of clear plastic hung strategically throughout the school. 

Books and articles will talk about hybrid learning at home part-time, and at school for the rest of the time. 

It will highlight the stress of teachers, parents, and the stress of you as the student. 

You are being asked to learn on platforms that are still developing instead of classrooms that have been established for centuries. 

We are asking you to rise up and take a step into the darkness. The darkness of the unknown for our future. The unknown of when “normal” school full of chatting friends sitting nearby, tag at recess, and less than 6 feet apart for group work, will resume. 

It’s hard, and it’s scary, and you are the pioneers for this. Your feedback on Zoom meetings, Google Classroom assignments, and in-person lectures with adapted seating will drive our school system to success as teachers, administration, and parents navigate and troubleshoot this new layout of education. 

To the students of the 2020-2021 school year, our future is in your hands more than it has ever been in student’s hands before. And we trust you. Together, we can make it through and create a better world for those to come. 

You’ve got this. 

Learning Acceptance And Tolerance While Teaching Christmas Traditions

In 4th grade, I had this teacher who was nothing short of magnificent. She would get so excited about everything that just had a way of lighting a fire in everyone to learn. 4th grade, in my opinion, has some of the best curricula as well, state history! Since I grew up in Idaho she taught us all about Lewis and Clark, the pioneers, and the Appaloosa horse, our state horse. 

She also did a read-aloud every day after lunch. We would come in from recess, turn off the lights, and she would read to us as if we were in the story ourselves. I distinctly remember her reading Earthquake Terror and being so terrified myself because I was convinced I was in the water with these two siblings holding onto logs for dear life. Because of her, I will always 

One of my favorite units she taught was about Christmas around the world. It wasn’t required curriculum to teach, especially now with common core state standards, but something she felt was important to include in her teaching each December. Looking back, I am realizing it didn’t just teach us what each country saw Santa Claus as, but also taught us inclusion. Tolerance. Diversity. Loving. Acceptance. And more. 

Here is a great article on a few things I learned about Swiss Christmas.

We spent time researching multiple countries, what they ate around the holidays, traditions they have, and the values they held close. At the end of the unit, we had one big potluck of each type of food that we were even able to try ourselves! Talk about exposure to culture! I also want you to understand that I grew up in the sticks of Idaho. Ucon, Idaho to be exact. In Ucon, there was one elementary school, and then we had to “go into town” to attend Jr. High and high school. It was and still is, a farming community with very little diversity. So my teacher taking the time to teach us culture and give us exposure to something different was huge. 

I’m grateful for a teacher that took the effort to give us these opportunities and teach us beyond the test, especially in the early 2000s when being less aware of others was more common. I am not sure if she is still teaching to this day, but if she is, I cannot imagine the impact she is making on this world, given the impact she had in just my life.