7.19.2017

The Wednesday Surprise

Happy Wednesday. Can it really be mid-July already?
I've been waiting for tomorrow night for quite some time now 
because I've been invited to host #EduAR on Twitter.
Here are the details . . .

Click the graphic to read the transcript of the July 20th chat.
and a sample teaser question.


You'll have to join us to share your answer
and read all about what other people are doing to
supercharge the habit of collaboration.

When I saw Dr. Borba's keynote in Austin this summer, she recommended 
The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting as a must-have to give our learners the empathy advantage. So I ordered a copy, and she was right. With empathy to spare, this little superhero collaborates with her Grandmother to give her Dad 
a very special gift.

Click the image to hear Debbie Schatteman read this gem aloud.
I'm not going to spoil the surprise, so give it a listen.
Then order a copy or two for your character building.

It makes me think about this character clipa powerful story about a grown man who works diligently to learn to read to make his adult author son proud, but beware: It's a commercial for Bell's Whiskey, so share it responsibly.
That reminds me of this funny shirt with a serious message. 


But I digress. My idea is to share it with the educators in my learning session audiences, making sure to stop the clip right before the son buys his Dad that celebratory shot of Bell's. And, just like I wouldn't wear this t-shirt to school, I won't be sharing the clip with my intermediate students. Would I share it with tweens or teens? Maybe so, but only along with a stakeholders discussion about responsible decision-making. What are your thoughts about sharing the clip?

Don't forget; set an alarm to set sail on the 7 Cs with us
tomorrow night, July 20th, at 8:30 pm {CST}.
Haven't used TweetDeck yet? Click {here} for a tutorial.
It will be a real tweet to see you there. 







7.13.2017

Fighting Fearona

Today's post will be a busy one; first, I'm excited to announce the winner of 
Bubble Gum Brain. Our random generator selected comment number 4. 


So if this is your reflection, congrats!
 Please email your postal address so I can get your signed copy on its way. 

Secondly, I'm excited to share another Vlog with you; 
in it, I ask an important reflection question about what hydrates you. 
Click the Magic Beadz image below to watch it on You Tube.


You'll also hear me talk about the book Unmapped Potential by Julie Hasson and Missy Lennard. Click the image below to download the educator's guide to this treasure that tackles those mental maps that we all have, some of which might threaten to keep us from reaching our potential if we're not willing to ask ourselves some serious map-changing questions.  


The authors, also known as the Purposeful Principals, suggest that we admit and become personally acquainted with our negative attitudes and fixed mindsets because we there's benefit in not only claiming them, but naming them. 

Then as an exclamation point on their suggestion, mindset guru Carol Dweck said the same thing in her ASCA keynote and went on to explain their function:

So I've decided to name my fixed mindsets Fearona.

Since I find myself fighting Fearona a lot lately, it really helped me to know that Fearona is only trying to protect me. I need to recognize what she's doing when she's doing it so I can step in and care-front her about it. I'm working on a script to self that goes something like this: Fearona, I appreciate that you're looking out for me, I really do, but I can't possibly grow to reach my potential if you keep getting in my way. Kindly step aside; we've got this. 
I promise to let you know if I need you. 

And then, as if the cosmos were trying to fuel my fight with Fearona, 
Joshua and I spied this banner in Aggieland yesterday. 


Most days, that's him and not me, but I'm working toward integrating that ideal into my mental map, for sure. Have you named your fixed mindsets? What's your most promising practice for unlocking those negative scripts so that you can tap into your greatest growth and become the best version of yourself?

Finally, this month's Free Spirit Press guest post went live this morning, so click the graphic below to go and read my mindfulness suggestions for all students, but especially to assist our learners with ADHD.



Happy 7/13/17; 
don't you love that this week's dates are palindromes?






7.08.2017

Growth Mindset Sticks

Today I'm excited because this special delivery made its way
from Nebraska to Texas from my friend Julia! 


It's Julia Cook's latest treasure and it tackles one of my favorite topics, mindset. It's Bubble Gum Brain v. Brick Brain in the ring of life and you'll never guess who has the best chance of success. Okay, maybe you will, but, in true Julia fashion, it's a creative, clever social story that is sure to help facilitate your growth mindset message with the children (and grown ups) under your care. Grow with Bubble Gum Brain as she helps Brick Brain unwrap his fixed thoughts and enjoy savoring the flavor of life with more gusto.

As a school counselor and mom, I especially connected with the Ready, Get Mindset ... and Grow tips in the back of the book.

For fun, I'm going to put this sticker on sticks of bubble gum
and give them away at one of my future learning sessions!


And, as you can see, here's the cool thing: Julia sent two giveaway copies. One way to win a signed copy is to leave a comment telling us your favorite book to stretch the growth mindset ideal between now and Thursday, July 13th, at noon {CST}. We will use a random number generator to select the winner, so check back Thursday afternoon and see if it's you!

The second way to win is to head over to my book's Facebook page and leave a comment over there telling us your favorite book with a growth mindset theme to win. Again, we'll use a number generator on July 13th after noon to choose a winner.

Thank you, Julia, for your generosity.
I'll keep strumming as long as you keep those stories coming.

This giveaway is now closed;
click {here} to see who won Julia's mindset book.






7.06.2017

Gatekeepers & My First Vlog

This morning, I tried something new.
I made a video blog.
A Vlog.

Basically it's a four-minute explanation of how I plan to combine this game



with the Inner/Outer Circle activity


for a staff learning session about the services that a school counselor provides. We'll focus 
on belonging, 
on mattering,
on connections, 
on empathy and emotions, 
and on the power of the circle, 
so you can imagine my joy at remembering that Spot It! cards are circular. Anyway, here it is.



Did you catch my cat's cameo?

My friend Lisa in VA, who sent me this game years ago, is going to be field testing the activity in a week or two and I can't wait to hear how it goes. 
If you try it, please post details in the comments below.

I'm thankful to my friend and colleague Gary Smit from the Character Counts! National Faculty for encouraging me to record and share.

And now for today's book recommendation: 
Gatekeepers by edu-hero Tammy McMorrow.


Although I've not met first-grade teacher Tammy McMorrow in real life ... yet ... she is a cyberspace collaborator of mine through our shared love for writing, passion for education, and our commitment to raising character kids. She blogs over at Forever In First and wrote a guest post at the Corner once a long time ago {here}. I'm tickled pink that she decided to publish a book and share her thoughts and reflections. She starts each essay with a quote, something to think about, just like she does on her blog's weekly special, Saturday Sayings. Her words of wisdom invite the reader into a conversation as if you're sitting right there with her, trying to sort things out together. I know that Tammy is a lifelong learner because a few times over the years she has reached out to me for guidance with hurdles or challenges that have come her way. One of them was the exact time she writes about in Essay #36, Learn, Not Pay

She probably didn't really need my help,
but she sought out my counsel anyway.
Her follow-up essay about it is spot on.
She just wanted them to learn.
To be better next time.
To do better next time.
These learners are blessed to have a Gatekeeper like Mrs. McMorrow and I'm blessed to have her as a friend. Check out her book and you'll be blessed by her insights and reflections.








7.03.2017

Fully Present, Mindfully Aware, Incredibly Blessed

Right now I'm feeling cheerful and grateful ... 


and incredibly blessed.

But the morning didn't start out like that. Our son came home from his two weeks of service at Camp with an outbreak of poison ivy. We treated it and took him back to Camp for his week of Discovery but this morning we got a call that he didn't sleep at all last night and was on his way to the hospital for a steroid shot. Enter worrisome thoughts like "What if the rash gets to his eye?" and then the berating ones like "What kind of a mom am I?" and I started to head back to Camp to pick up him and make things right, but then Kaitlyn, who's at Camp volunteering called us to say, "We've got this!" They'd gone to the hospital up there for treatment and were waiting for his prescription at the local pharmacy. They'd call us, she added, if they need us. We may have to head that way, but, for now, we're on standby.

 Now. Here. This. 
The perfect time for some mindfulness.
Do a body scan and see where the tension is.
{Um, everywhere!}
Practice some mindful breathing to relax.
Inhale deeply: Smell the flower.
Exhale fully: Blow out the candles.
Use a mantra to center compassionately:
May I enjoy forgiveness, wellbeing, and peace. 
Walk into a happy memory.
Savor the emotions of a wonderful time.
Go back in time and feel the positivity again.
Am I feeling relaxed yet? Restored? Ready for the day?

Such a blessing that I went to that mindfulness learning session two weeks ago at the Wisconsin conference; huge thanks to counselors Mauria Turkowski and Amber Hill for sharing their wisdom.

Mindfulness is paying attention, 
on purpose, 
without judgement, 
in the present moment.
It's a great way to practice self-care and compassion.
It's important to get to know our brains.
Because besides just feeling really good,
mindfulness benefits our brains.
The amygdala, in charge of the fight, flight, or freeze reactions to fear, shows less activity and gray matter density after mindfulness is practiced. The hippocampus, which controls the amygdala and acts like the bank which stores our memories, see increased activity after mindfulness exercises. And the prefrontal cortex, which controls our thinking, our memories, and our emotions because it's the boss of our brain, also sees an increase in activity after mindfulness.    

They gave each educator a Hershey's Kiss
 so we could do this mindful eating exercise.
Go get a Kiss; I'll wait.
Don't eat it yet.
Look at the Kiss with curiosity.
What do you notice?
Weight? Color? Texture? Temperature?
Peel one side and focus on the sound.
Listen. Then smell what's inside.
Move it closer and breathe in deeply.
Open up the rest. 
Place it on your tongue without biting it.
Hold it on your tongue. 
Move it around.
Don't bit it yet!
Pay attention to urges.
Trave flavor down as far as you can.
Can you feel the texture of the warm, melting chocolate?
Savor. Just savor.
Now go ahead and eat it. Slowly.
Open your mouth slightly and breathe in.
Pay attention to the flavor.
Try closing your eyes. Does it taste better?

They said once they learned about the benefits of mindful eating,
they stopped eating fast food in the car. Interesting ...

Then I met Wisconsin educator, Susan Baumgartner, on Twitter and she sent me a copy of this Mindfulness treasure that she wrote. 


I felt so peaceful and pensive as I read through her thoughtful essays, all of which are paired with a picture-perfect photo by Marlene Oswald on a page with a prompt for your reactions and reflections.

Dr. Patricia Jennings reminds us that it's important to be mindfully aware of our own thoughts and feelings so that we can be fully present for our kids. Our emotions, both positive and negative, influence our teaching and are a big part of our classroom environment and our relationships. Mindfulness practices help us recognize the subtle signs of our emotions and model regulation and mastery for our students. 

Check out these rich mindfulness resources:


And now I have this book on order; I'll review it once it's in.

Click image for Kirkus review 

How do you incorporate mindfulness into your home or classroom? 







6.29.2017

Growing Success

Today let's start with a reflection: How do you define success?
And once you've defined it, how do you grow it?
And once it has grown, how do you measure it?

It's something keynote speaker Thomas Hoerr asked last week at the True Colors Conference, and it has me thinking. A lot. About that one little word. Success. 
He told us that what we measure is what we value. So the question becomes, 
"What do we value?"

I'm reading his book about cultivating success skills now; 
click the image for more information.


I took a lot of notes of the key points he made:

1. IQ contributes 20% of the factors that determine success.
2. Willpower is a skill that can be taught.
3. Scholastics should be the floor, not the ceiling.
4. Honesty is reactive; integrity is proactive.
5. Who you are is more important that what you know.
6. He suggested brushing our teeth with our non-dominant hand, 
to see how it feels and what it takes to change a habit.
7. Look up this story about Walt Bettinger. It's not one I'll soon forget.
8. He referenced the Stanley Miligram study of obedience. Wow.
9. He said to ask kids what someone else might want for a birthday gift, to get them stepping into another's shoes and to elevate empathy.
10. "Empathy is the most important back-to-school supply for teachers." 
~Homar Tavangar 

His wisdom continued to point to the important, life-changing power of connections and relationships.

He also encouraged us to look up the Values Card sort.
So I did. Here's a digital version.
How might you use this activity to get to know yourself, 
your students, your staff, and your stakeholders better?

Don't you just love a thought-provoking keynote?

So back to success. Every seed he planted was meant to grow us. To help us get just a little bit closer to our personal success. To be the best version of us that we can be. He challenged us to move from me to we to maximize our growth. 
To cultivate and harvest success. 
Because together we're better. 
No question.

Have you seen this Make Defeat Your Fuel Gatorade commercial?
You won't want to miss it; it's a powerful example about the power in sharing our disappointments and failures. That's how we develop grit, by persevering through the challenges to come out successfully victorious. So we can go on to the next challenge. It has to challenge us in order to change us.


So, I'll end with a growth challenge:
Define success.
Plant seeds of success.
Nourish, fertilize, and grow your success.
Plan then write down how you'll measure that success.

'Water' you waiting for?; 
here's to a swimmingly successful new year of growth and grit.





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