Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Watch and Learn

For those of you familiar with my blog, you are aware that from time to time these posts are inspired by my own children.

This would be one of them.

My daughter rode a Boogie Board for the first time this Summer.  Turns out she was good.  Quite good, actually. 

Here is what I learned from watching her...

Know when to wait and let it come to you.  No need to rush and expend energy unnecessarily.

Be mindful.  Study the situation.  Know your surroundings.  Sense the moment.  Let yourself be guided by your instincts.

Be attentive. Be aware.  Know when to seize the moment.  Own it.

Ever do something you really truly enjoy?  It is not a chore to do.  Nor is it something you have to do.  Rather, it is just something that has become a part of you.  Time stands still, yet seems to fly by at the same time.  (There is a book about just this thing.  Check it out--Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.  And this one too--Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention).

These things -patience, anticipation, action, and flow- helped my daughter at riding the waves.  They definitely assist me in my work as a School Counselor, not to mention being called Dad.  How about you?  What lessons have come to help you in your life?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Set Your Intentions #3

“I've come to the frightening conclusioin that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.” -Dr Haim Ginott

Click here to see Set Your Intentions #1.   And here for Set Your Intentions #2

Would you like this poster?  You can download your own right here.  This came from the latest issue of Teaching Tolerance.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Think Big, Start Small

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a situation?   Maybe with a project?  Or perhaps a goal?

This is the time when educators select a professional development goal for the year.  If you are like me, then perhaps you have been really excited about something you wanted to do.  You felt a burst of creative energy and were motivated to take action.  Maybe that is what pure inspiration is.  Then for whatever reason that inspiration was never fully realized.

So why does this  occur?  There could be a variety of reasons.  Not enough Time is a big factor for why things do not happen.  Other things take Precedent and crowd it out.  It could be that Support is needed from others and that is missing.  I suppose there could be many circumstances for why something does not reach fruition.

On second thought, maybe this could be perceived differently.  Perhaps we should be more interested in the discovery of why things do happen, rather than why things do not happen.

I remember a time when I had what I thought was a really good idea; a plan for the future that would help at-risk students be better prepared to achieve their potential.  I pitched the idea to my supervisors.  They liked it and even wanted me to pursue it.  Then my bubble was burst with these words:  Think big, start small.  I was crestfallen.  I wanted to do it all immediately.  Right now!  There is no time to waste.  Just let me do it.

I am not sure why that was my initial reaction.  Looking back upon it now I understand this perspective.  They had the big picture in mind.  It was the right decision.  Not only that, but the Think Big, Start Small approach enabled me (and all those involved) to work towards observable and measurable goals in a focused, organized, and accountable manner.  An approach such as this allowed us to measure our progress and make adaptations or corrections as we worked toward making this idea into a reality.

Upon reflection what I have discovered about myself over the years is this–  having Support, Encouragement, and Guidance is a necessary compliment to my own personal Commitment,  Passion, and Motivation.  It is a nice counterbalance.  It is what I need in order to make things happen.  I understand that now.

What do you need from others to help you manifest a goal?  If you are an educator, please consider sharing your professional development goal.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm Here

What?  What!  Peter H. Reynolds has a new book.  And I did not know about it.  How did I miss that?

Time was, I'd be all giddy over a new song by a favorite musical artist.  Now I become gleeful over KidLit books.

Without knowing anything about it, I must have this book.  This author/illustrator is an inspiration to me.

And do not forget to celebrate International Dot Day on September 15.  Here is an old post with activities to do with The Dot (also by Peter Reynolds).  Celebrate with your family, your class, or the entire school.  Make your mark!

And while you are here-- take a peek over to the left at my Books to Inspire link.  Click on Ish.  Yes, another Peter Reynolds book.  It is a keeper-ish!

Do you have a favorite author/illustrator?  One who inspires you to be a better YOU.  Please share. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A Wish Worth Sharing

I cannot think of a better way to begin the school year than by sharing this story with you-- A Wish For YouWhat a wonderful way to celebrate the start of a new school year.  It really is full of inspiration.  In fact, it is so contagious I bet you'll want to create your own story right-away.  It was created by Lyn Hilt. (Her blog is worth checking out).

This creation came from Storybird and it is my first encounter with the site.  It is nifty, don't you think?  I have hopes to use Storybird with my students in small group counseling.  I figure I will create stories and the group members will co-create their own as well.   I will be sure to share them.  You do the same, too.  Happy Storybirding!

Monday, September 05, 2011

September 11 Resources

With the anniversary of September 11 near, it is an important time to be mindful of how we each process our emotions and the manner in which we help those in our care.

While these resources are specific to September 11, they are also appropriate for effectively coping with other traumatic events.

Below is a link from the National Association of School Psychologists: NASP Resources for 9/11The link provides information on  Fostering Resilience and Optimism; Tips for Parents and Caregivers, Educators, and Youth; Fostering an Attitude of Gratitude, just to name a few.

Here, too, is a link to the American School Counselor Association website:  ASCA Resources for September 11This link provides information on Talking to Your Child About September 11, Lesson Plans, and more.

To my way of thinking, whenever we can promote/nurture resiliency, optimism, and perseverence when faced with adversity it is beneficial to us all.

I wish you well.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

New Beginnings

A fresh start.  A clean slate.  A blank canvas.  That is what a new school year offers.  A new beginning. I have come to believe that the start of a new school year is all about establishing routine and forming patterns of habit.  Maybe it can be looked upon as preparing the mindset for success.

My children are in First Grade this year.  It will be their first experience of being in school for a whole, entire day.  So that puts ‘back to school’ in a new and fresh perspective for me.  Essentially, what am I able to do as a parent to help my kids navigate this new beginning in their life?  How can I be a model for them to fill their blank canvas with things like motivation, accountability, and a happy effort?

At our home, the goal is to set simple, matter-of-fact expectations for my daughter and son.  Go to bed at a reasonable time.  Select clothes the night before.  Place backpacks by the door.  Choose and pack a snack/lunch prior to going to bed.  Talk a bit about what will be in store for the upcoming day; something they are looking forward to or perhaps something that is causing them unease.

I have found that this preparation allows mornings to be less stressful and the transition to school easier.  Not to mention that it instills a sense of personal responsibility as they begin to develop healthy, productive patterns of habit.

I would like to hear from Parents.  What works for you and your family?  What habits have you co-created with your children that pave the way for success to take place in school?  And if you are an educator, please chime in, too!  What stories do you have to share!