Sunday, April 06, 2014

Family Engagement

Parent Engagement is something I have been thinking a lot about  this year.  The more it percolated in my mind the more I came to believe that I needed to think about it differently. This led me to think about Family Engagement.

Parent engagement is different then Family engagement. After all, our students go home to siblings that are not yet school age, Grandparents, and other relatives who may live with them. I wanted to consider a way to include and engage everyone in the entire home. Many people influence our kids and that ripple effect is far reaching. Each family member has a Voice which needs to feel worthy, to be proudly expressed, and to be accepted with loving kindness. So, how could I connect school life and family life?

What I came up with is the One Family Word challenge.

I envisioned each family having a conversation about choosing a Word to motivate and inspire them. A Word to encourage each family member to be the best they could be and a reminder for how they want to live as a Family.

The  intention was to bring Family and School together in a simple, yet meaningful way in which everyone can participate and show support for each other in our school community.

Here is the text that is in the middle of the above photo:
One Word.
That is all it takes.
To motivate. To inspire.  To transform.

Words Matter.
They can encourage.  They can empower. They can nurture. They can ignite and take you wherever you envision.
You Matter.
You can change the world. You can help others. You make a difference just by embracing your Self. You can do anything.
One Family Word.
Imagine what can be achieved with the caring support of your Family. Look at these Words selected by our families.  They are Awesome.
Our School Community
100 families and counting have taken up the One Family Word challenge. We can harness this energy and do wonderful things together.

I have no idea where this may lead or what comes next. Just that it is part of the adventure and that together we can offer caring support and personal inspiration to each individual's journey with One Family Word. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

One Family Word

My Family has decided to come up with a Word for us.  We settled on Contagious.  As in-- our mood can rub off to each other in a positive happy-making manner or in a negative grumpy sour type of way.  We are going to make a group effort to be mindful of how our attitude/mood/frame of mind can impact other family members.  Wish us luck and I'll keep you posted.

How about you-- does your family have a word?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


My word for 2012 was Filter. You can read about it Here. Last year my word was Carve. Read about that HereI was starting to wonder what my word for 2014 was going to be and even thought of not doing it this year at all.

And then these Tweets happened:
 Marty Stevens @martylstevens
I am on the shelf for a few weeks from running
due to tearing my inguinal tendon. #500in2014
Any suggestions for a speedy recovery?
 Jessica Lahey @jesslahey
@martylstevens rest, rest,
rest and more rest. That's a
painful one! Good luck!

So, now my Word for 2014 is a no brainer.  It absolutely, positively, without a doubt has to be Rest. Thanks, Jess, for pointing out what seems so obvious, but was not what I was wanting to do--REST

Letting my injury heal is front and center at the moment.  (A group of Educators have taken up the challenge to run 500 miles in 2014.  It is inspirational and they provide wonderful support.  However, I am woefully behind due to this setback. I will need all their encouragement once I return.  Watch our progress on Twitter at #500in2014).

After I recover and can get back to running, then I need to be especially mindful to Rest.  It seems from the moment I awake to the time my head hits the pillow I am in full throttle motion without a moment to myself. Rest to rejuvenate. To recalibrate. To replenish. Mostly, though, Rest just for the sake of Rest.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Invisible Boy And The Need To Be Appreciated And Accepted

Trudy Ludwig. 

She is a Hero of mine. 

There was a time when I admired athletes, movie stars, and musicians.  Not anymore.  Now I most admire KidLit authors and illustrators.  Trudy is probably on my Mount Rushmore of children's authors.
She has a new book, The Invisible Boy.  You should read it.  If you are a parent it should be on your bookshelf. If you are an Educator of any kind-- Teacher, Librarian, School Counselor--you must have access to it at your school. It needs to be in your hands and the hands of your students.
Every young person needs to experience a true sense of belonging. Every young person needs to feel valued. Every young person needs to BE appreciated and accepted for who they are. No. Matter. What.  Trudy's book addresses these important issues of Being.
So, what's the book about?  Read about it here.  And here.  Here, too.

This activity guide from Peace First may further help to foster a more complete understanding:  Inclusion/Exclusion.

There are lots of adults out there who are like the character in The Invisible Boy.  A book by Susan Cain may enhance your awareness-- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

The invisible boy and others like him are easy to overlook or dismiss or disregard.  Please do not do that.  Start by reading The Invisible Boy.  It will move you to make a difference in someone's life.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

How Do You Suck?

Do you suck out all the marrow of Life?

                   Or do you suck all the energy from a room?

Friday, September 06, 2013

Words for 2013

Obviously I am reporting back later than I had originally intended,  That happens sometimes.  Especially when your word for the year was CARVE.  I have been putting forth a sincere effort to CARVE space for all that is important to me. Here is my One little word post for 2013-- CARVE. With the start of a new school year underway and heading into the home stretch of 2013 I am being extra mindful to follow the Intentions I set back in January.

Some folks in my PLN also picked their word for the year:

Celina Brennan BELIEVE
Ann Ottmar VOICE
Jeff Delp TODAY

I also put out a call to authors to choose a word for the year and share it with me. Here are their Words:

Julia Cook TRY
Peter Reynolds TRANSCEND
Trudy Ludwig REACH
Heather Frederick DIVE
Susan Hill Long OVER.

So, everyone, I hope your Word has lived up to your expectations and I trust you found the meaning in your Word which you set your intentions for.  Report back to us and share how your special word has impacted your life. And, if you have yet to find a Word for yourself it is never too late.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Top Three Issues Impacting Students

Quick, what are the top three issues most impacting young people today. 

I had the privilege of being part of an Interview Team and that question was posed to the candidates.

I would have loved to engage in a conversation with the candidates regarding their choices, but being an interview and all, there was no time for that.  (Perhaps we need to change the way we go about interviewing. I am thinking it should be more conversational, instead of buzz words and sound bites).

This question has stuck with me and I would be interested in your perspective and feedback. I wish I could have had a meaningful conversation with the candidates and then asked them to express their ideas on how to promote positive change to these issues.

Here are my top three--

Stress. Or maybe you call it Worry or Anxiety.  More and more I think it is a chronic state of being for young people.  To be sure, chronic stress does a lot of damage to one's mental state and physical well-being. Here is a recent study on Stress by the American Psychological Association. While this focus is on young adults, I find it to be true for children.

Social Connectedness. I think there is a lack of it for some of our young people.  Inherently we have a need for a sense of belonging and, yet, that is something that is missing from so many lives. How many students do not feel a connection with their teacher?  How many families have a sit-down meal together?  How many kids do not know how to engage in play?  How many are being intentionally/unintentionally excluded socially? In general, is there a genuine connection being made that is lasting and meaningful?

Thinking. By that, I mean knowing what to do when you do not know what to do. I am a big believer that we all need Alone Time/Quiet Time. I have found that time without constraints can provide ample space for reflection, helps you regulate your behavior, and reaps the benefit of problem solving and figuring out what to do when you do not know what to do.

I imagine your top three issues will vary depending on your student demographics and school culture/climate.  That's why I want to hear from you.  Please leave a Comment.  Or write your own post about it, but be sure to leave a link here in the comment section.

Come to think of it, maybe I'll ask students what their Top Three Issues are which impact them...