Framing Our Intention

A picture, a memory encapsulated in a photograph, lies in a drawer, unappreciated and forgotten, until it is put on display. A frame protects and presents something of value. By framing a piece of art, or photograph, it is given significance. When a house is framed at the beginning of construction, the frame outlines and establishes boundaries. It provides structure upon which the building takes form. A lesson in a classroom, a life lived one day at a time, requires a framework to become something worthy of the time spent. A destination, a goal, is not arrived at by accident but by intention. As teachers we should frame our lessons in order to be effective. As humans we should frame our days in order to be fulfilled.

fundamental five

For those unfamiliar with the “Fundamental Five”, a book written by Sean Cain and Mike Laird, about the formula for quality instruction, one of the fundamental five instructional strategies used by effective teachers is “framing the lesson”. This involves teachers taking the time when they plan and present a lesson to include specific statements about what the objective of the lesson is, as well as what specifically the students will do to achieve that objective. The formula to follow is “We will….(objective of the lesson)”. “I will…(student task).” For example, a geometry lesson about angle relationships, the objective on the board would read, “We will identify angle relationships as complementary, supplementary, adjacent, or corresponding. I will take notes on angle relationships and then complete a worksheet identifying the angle relationships in the example diagrams.” This practice clarifies for both the teacher and students the purpose of the day’s lesson. I personally think it is important to also include the “why” of the lesson, for example, explaining to the students that angle relationships will be used later to solve for unknown angles.


Framing the day is as important as framing the lesson. When getting ready in the morning set your intention.   Too often we start our day on auto-pilot, without preparing our mind for what the day will bring. You have the ability to direct your thoughts. How do you want to experience your family, colleagues and students? Will you let others and circumstances dictate your frame of mind? Rather than be in a rush, have a calm manner. Set your mind on kindness. Be thankful for all the gifts and serendipities that come your way. Be thankful for the amazing experience of being alive and self-aware.

How would you like to think about yourself today? Congratulate yourself, cheer yourself on when you are tackling a difficult task. Tom Evans, in his book, “The Authority Guide to Practical Mindfulness”, encourages: “Learn a new fact, pick up a new skill, take the newness out into the world and notice how in return that opens new doors and new opportunities. Be aware that the only constant is change, so do something new, meet someone new, think something new, and allow your world to change as a result”.


In “Morning Mediation: Set Your Intention” Kasmin Brotherton instructs:

Be mindful of your breath. Notice the in-breath; notice the out-breath. Rather than letting the day run until you are on empty, remember to stop and take a few minutes to take a few calming breaths and fuel your mind, filling the tank so you have something to give your family when you return home at the end of the day.


As you go about your day be mindful of your thoughts and be proactive rather than reactive. Mentally establish the framework upon which you build your lessons, your interactions, and ultimately your mark on the world. Take advantage of the ability to set your intention and frame your day.


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