Building The Airplane While Flying

COVID-19 has changed our world in so many ways. The biggest change of all for me is the separation from my day-to-day responsibility of teaching my 7th/8th grade students in-person. Yes, I am one of those educators who have been challenged to build an airplane in mid-air while flying. I read this phrase in a blog post by Thinking Maps. It immediately resonated with me!

Building the airplane while flying is exactly what it has felt like for the last few weeks. I’m up in the air, trying not to panic. I miss my students. I only see a few of them. When we left for Spring Break in mid-March, I did not realize it would be my last time physically seeing some of my 8th grade students who will be promoting to high school.

In terms of this post’s title, I am convinced my teaching skills have improved exponentially. I have been stretched to teach in a remote learning environment. Google Classroom is my new best friend. Thinking Maps online is definitely a must. All I want to do is Zoom with my students in the classroom. Kahoot, Classcraft, and Quizizz bring levity and create a bit of FUN while enhancing engagement.

Social distancing due to this global pandemic seems to bring out the best in me as a teacher, entreprenuer and family member. I’m much more aware of and appreciative of everything and everybody in my space. I keep thinking about all of the wonderful things I will be able to do when I return to the classroom. Right now, I’m good with building while flying – more like, grateful to be soaring to higher heights.

New Theme and Logo with a Greater Mission!



The theme in The Lyons Den this year is Strength and Courage.  

These two words embody the characteristics of a Lion (class mascot and a word play associated with my last name of Lyons).  My students know how much I love lions and why that works in our classroom.

On Monday, I will begin my 4th year of teaching Middle School English Language Arts at Sacaton Middle School in Sacaton Arizona in the Gila River Indian Community.  My classroom is known as The Lyons Den.  For many students, I am known as Mama Lyons.  I am honored to have this title.

This summer, I participated in the “Teaching Excellence” workshop series sponsored by the GRIC Native Youth Community Project Grant.  I am grateful for this opportunity as it provided a wealth of knowledge to incorporate in my classroom which will accelerate my students learning for literacy.

This year, there will be much more engaging and impactful learning taking place in The Lyons Den!  Although it may seem rigorous from the outside looking in, our students will step into the lessons engaged, feeling empowered, and willing to give their best effort.

It is my deepest desire to see my students succeed not only in high school but go on to attend college.

I take my role in this seriously – The Lyons Den is just the beginning.  I look forward to an amazing school year!