E 13: How to Build Resilience in Our Students: Actionable Ways to Help Students Develop Grit, Growth Mindset, and Confidence in the Face of Adversity (with Dr. Jillian Roberts)

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Have you ever found yourself puzzling over fostering resilience in our students but felt at a loss about how to get there? Well, you’re in for a treat. My remarkable guest describes through animated and relatable storytelling how to do just that by developing grit, growth mindset, and confidence within our students.

Here is her favourite quote by Goethe: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Dr. Jillian Roberts is a renowned child psychologist, author, professor and parent. She earned her PhD at age 26, became an associate professor at the University of Victoria at 32, and shortly after became the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Education. During this time, Dr. Roberts built one of Victoria, B.C.’s most successful child psychology practices.

Considered a go-to child psychology expert for journalists, Dr. Roberts’ work has appeared in the New York Times and the Toronto Sun; she is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post Canada, the CBC and Global News. Her best-selling series of children’s books was released in 2016 to international acclaim. In early 2017, Dr. Roberts co-founded Family Sparks to offer families a supportive, resource-rich community to help them navigate our increasingly complicated world.
For more information visit my website and search for episode # 13.

http://www.drjillianroberts.com

https://familysparks.com

An Interview with Peter H. Reynolds: How to Inspire the Happy Dreamers in your Class

“Creative thinking is the fuel for getting things going. Dreaming about the project is a huge part of the process. The actual ‘doing’ requires following through on the dream, but the dream is the rough sketch. I encourage people to ponder and conjure the vision, but eventually I’ll nudge you to “prove your groove.” Don’t just say you are a writer… Write. Don’t just dream about making a film… Pick up the camera and go!”

-Peter H. Reynolds

Have you ever wondered how to empower the dreamers in your life to be the fullest expressions of themselves? To take audacious leaps? To connect with their passion in a meaningful way to serve the world?IMG_3148

In this episode, you’ll learn the 4 questions you can ask to connect students with their purpose, the top two ways anyone can generate new and creative ideas, and the most important question everyone should be asking themselves in order to live a life of joyful intention. I am thrilled about this remarkable interview, with the best-selling, award-winning author, Peter H. Reynolds. Join us as we deep-dive into creativity, dreaming, and joyful expression.IMG_3151

Creativity champion, Peter H. Reynolds, is a Canadian-born, NY Times best-selling author & illustrator Published in over 25 languages.

Peter’s books The Dot, Ish, The Word Collector, and Happy Dreamer, among many others, inspire children and “grown up children” with his messages about authentic learning, creativity, bravery, empathy, and courageous self-expression.

Peter also illustrated the best selling I am Yoga, I am Peace, I am Human (which was recently a #1 NYT Best selling picture book!), and The Water Princess with Susan Verde, as well as, the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald. Peter lives in the Boston area where he founded The Blue Bunny, a family-owned and operated children’s book, toy, & creativity store.

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Peter and his twin brother Paul, launched the Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning, and Creativity (TLC). The center is a not-for-profit organization that encourages creativity and innovation in teaching and learning. Also worth checking out, whether, you are a child, a teacher, or a grown-up kid, Fable-Vision, a creative animation studio designed to helping learners find their true potential.

You can find Peter on Twitter @peterhreynolds and by visiting his website.

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Here are 15 tips to make your mark:

Tell stories. Family stories. Made-up stories. You don’t need a book to read with your children. In fact, if they see you improvise they will learn to do the same. Improv is key to creative thinking and innovation. For more ideas, click here.

Check out Peter’s blog, The Stellar Cafe. And here’s a great interview about his artist’s way.

E10: Leaving Your “Heartprint” on the World (with Adrienne Gear)

In this episode, you’ll learn so many strategies, tools and lesson ideas for teaching integrated and meaningful learning that it’ll have you sprinting into your classroom with a recharged sense of purpose! In this conversation, Adrienne Gear explores specific ways of teaching Social Emotional Skills that will prepare our students for the future and how to use the three-step Powerful Understanding Model to do so.

Adrienne Gear has been a teacher in the Vancouver School district in Canada for over 18 years working as a classroom teacher, ESL teacher, teacher librarian and District Literacy Mentor. Adrienne developed Reading Power almost 10 years ago and has been since working with teachers in many districts throughout the province presenting workshops, giving demonstration lessons and facilitating Reading Power leadership teams. She has also presented workshops in the United States.

She is the author of six bestselling books including, Reading Power and Writing Power, and has just completed her sixth book Powerful Understanding : Helping Students Explore, Question, and Transform Their Thinking about Themselves, Others, and the World. Find her online on her website readingpowergear.com or on social media by searching Adrienne Gear.
For more information about her books, book lists, blog, resources and workshops visit her blog.

E 7: The 5 Steps for Teaching Self-Regulation and Reducing Flight, Fight, Freeze Responses in the Classroom (with Dr. Stuart Shanker)

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With terms like self-regulation being thrown around like confetti in education these days, the true meaning of such important approaches can become watered-down and lose effectiveness. In this interview, I go to the source. In this discussion with self-regulation guru Dr. Stuart Shanker, we explore 5 actionable ways to implement self-regulation strategies within the classroom with the goal of reducing retraumatizing triggers for the children in our classes.

Dr. Stuart Shanker is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The MEHRIT Centre, a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology from York University. His most recent book, Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (And You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life, has garnered glowing reviews around the world being published in Canada, the US, the UK, as well as many foreign editions
Over the past decade, Stuart Shanker has served as an advisor on early child development to government organizations across Canada and the United States, and in countries around the world. During this period, he became increasingly interested in the impact of excessive stress on child development and behaviour. Stuart Shanker’s five-step Self-Reg model — The Shanker MethodTM– is a powerful process for understanding and managing stress in children, youth and adults. Stuart commits considerable time to bringing the research and science of Self-Reg to parents, early childhood educators, teachers, educational leaders, health practitioners and communities through presentations, master classes, online courses, webinars, publications, social media and a blog entitled, “The Self-Reg View”. For more information about his work visit [www.self-reg.ca][1] or find him on twitter, facebook and linked in by searching Stuart Shanker or the mehrit centre.
Social Media.
The MEHRIT Centre TMC: Facebook, Twitter
Stuart Shanker: Twitter, LinkedIn
Book Title: *Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (And You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life*
For more information visit my website smallactbigimpact.com and search for episode # 7.
[1]: http://www.self-reg.ca

Seth Godin: What is School For?

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As an educator, have you ever found yourself stumped by the question, “Why are we even doing this?” or have you ever been graced with the inevitable “Is this on the test?” query?

In this very special episode, I talk to the one and only Seth Godin about disrupting the industrial model of education, helping students to get comfortable with struggle of learning and venturing beyond the pull of fitting-in.

We also discuss the real purpose of school and how we can best prepare our students for the uncertain future.

Finally, we explore the best way to provide feedback and advice to our learners, so that they may become the fullest expressions of themselves.

SETH GODIN is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He’s also the founder of the altMBA and The Marketing Seminar, online workshops that have transformed the work of thousands of people.
He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow.

 

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In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth has founded several companies, including Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world.

In 2018, he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame. His latest book, *What To Do When It’s Your Turn* is now in its fifth printing. You can find it at yourturn.link (and the new book, *This Is Marketing*, comes out in November 2018).

Here is a link to his FREE PDF Education Manifesto (it’s so good… consider checking it out for yourself or using it for an in-school book club with your staff.)

Here is a link to his Akimbo Podcast. Seth always loves hearing how his work has impacted listeners, so send a voice message or ask a question about his episodes via his Akimbo website.

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Want to level up? Learn about the amazing online courses and seminars that Seth offers. No matter what type of work you’re doing, learn how to make your mark through the AltMBA and The Marketing Seminar .

Please let me know how you enjoyed the episode and feel free to comment on my blog or website smallactbigimpact.com

Thank you for listening!

 

Photo Credit: Brian Bloom

Back to School: Tips for Success (Part Two)

IMG_1281In this special episode you’ll learn and hear:

  • a unique way to connect authentically with families during your first week in the classroom
  • a great way for students to get to know each other and the staff within your school
  • an awesome hands-on activity to start your first day off right
  • and a list of resources and tangible ways to develop growth mindset within your students during the first month, and throughout the year.
  • You’ll also learn a strategy so successful that three educators mentioned variations of it…love it! Finally, you’ll learn a handful of tips for starting the year off right.

When I put a call out to some of my friends and colleagues to learn the actionable ways they create a culture of belonging within their classrooms, I was blown away by the responses I received. I will be incorporating many of these strategies and lesson ideas within my own practice.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to share and review my podcast on iTunes…it helps other educators find it.

 

Back to School~Tips for Success

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Whether you’re a well-seasoned teacher or fresh in the field, it’s always great to gain insight into tried, tested, and true tips for success in the classroom. In this episode, you’ll come away with some great ways to prepare yourself and your classroom environment for a successful year, before the kids even set foot in the classroom. Hope you enjoy part one of this back-to-school series.

I am so excited to launch these new episodes because they are loaded with back to school strategies that you can implement right away to ensure you have a successful year with your students. I put a call out to some of my colleagues and was overwhelmed by the wealth of experience, creativity, and generosity.

This first episode focuses on preparing yourself and your learning environment in such a way that you not only optimize learning, but that you feel calm and happy as you prepare for the upcoming year.

  • You’ll hear from 4 experienced teachers about 4 strategies that’ll help you show up authentically for your students
  • the hidden curriculum every teacher should be focusing on this year
  • a proven tactic for increasing self-regulation on Monday mornings
  • key questions to ask yourself as you set up your physical space.

I have already planned to incorporate these tips within my own practice, I hope you find it useful for you, too!

Thanks for listening! If you liked the episode, please feel free to leave a review on iTunes!

Paintbrushes, Lizard-Brain and My First Faux Pas

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With a paintbrush gripped by my little inexperienced fingers, I’ll never forget the way his voice drove the chills over my skin in unrelenting waves. I froze like prey before a victorious predator, time stood still, my heart exploded out of my chest. I was barely breathing.

Pointing an accusatory finger at me with furious grimace, he bellowed, “What is wrong with you? Get out of my sight and clean yourself up! Don’t even think of coming back unless it’s gone!” As I gazed around the ancient stone-built room in stunned silence, my classmates stood before me staring, barely attempting to conceal their smirks, and pointing as a snickers and snorts of laughter erupted around me.

I must have been about 3 ½ years old when I had my first shaming experience at school. As one of my earliest recollections of childhood, it was a memory that had a huge influence on the way I showed up in my formative years.

Born in France, I attended a tiny two-room school house that catered to children preschool to high-school age, within the stone walls of the little village in which I resided with my family. The headmaster happened to be my classroom teacher; he was not what you’d call a kind man. Shaming and ridicule were often tools he employed to ensure that we complied and remained obedient.

Lost in my thoughts and in the process of creativity, I had been earnestly creating a masterpiece that day. Delighted at the opportunity for creative expression, I had been so wrapped in the pure joy of mixing the colours that I hadn’t even noticed the dollop of bright blue paint that had found its way onto the front of my stark white blouse.

Quick to call attention to anyone falling outside the tight confines of acceptable conduct, one of the older boys had raced excitedly to point out my faux pas to our militant leader.

The dull green walls in the bathroom closed in on me, as I scrubbed furiously to rid the blouse of the stain. Shame sat in my belly, a heavy lump weighing me down as I finally ambled back to the classroom with a crushed spirit, the lower-half of my shirt a sopping mess. Thank goodness the day is almost over, I remember thinking to myself.

When my parents came to pick me up that day, hordes of children ran alongside me, eagerly anticipating the joy of reminding me, once again, how I had failed that day.

We are all neurobiologically hardwired for belonging. When we become the outcast, when we get called out for doing something the wrong way, or when we find ourselves at a crossroads between standing within our integrity versus trying to fit in, it feels like death. So, we spend most of our lives trying to reduce any possibility of finding ourselves alone and exposed. In my case, striving for perfection has been a cross to bear for most of my life. Striving for perfection felt like the promise of protection-the guarantee that I would never experience being the outcast again.

But, the paradox of perfectionism is that it fundamentally separates us from others. Striving for perfection draws us away from true belonging, the ability to be who we are without apology. The ability to stand within our integrity. The ability to say, “this is who I am.”

It turns out that evolutionarily, when we do find ourselves standing alone, the reward circuitry in our brain screams at us to smarten up and find our way back to the tribe. To fit in at all costs.

This mechanism was once very useful to us, because not belonging to our tribe would quite rightly result in death. In the caveman days, being an outcast meant you no longer had the protection of the tribe. The chances of you dying were actually pretty high.

Even though the drive to fit in doesn’t truly serve us any longer, it’s still a very real part of our fight, flight, or freeze response. As parents, educators, and employers, we owe it to one another to respond compassionately in light of mistakes.

 

When You Lose Your Work…

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I’d like to wager that

every.

single.

person.

has likely experienced the bone-chill that accompanies the realization that the one thing into which you’ve been diligently pouring your blood, sweat, and tears…has vanished.

Forever.

Sometimes, all it takes is a single, fateful moment to undo hours, days, weeks, months, or even years of work, to delete precious and irreplaceable memories, or for achingly important items to go missing.

For example:

  • The near-complete set of report card comments you spend days crafting…poof.
  • Your computer crashes and important documents…gone.
  • The passport you need to board the plane back home… still sitting on the small round coffee table adjacent to the room service menu.
  • The one-of-a-kind baby photos you’ve been meaning to transfer from your phone to your computer…only a distant memory after a clumsy juggling act at your front door.

You get the picture…well, actually not any more.

Too soon?

In moments like those, my breath catches and my chest tightens, skin bristling with kinetic potential fueled by adrenaline. Frozen in time, I can sense the ever-quickening shallowness of my inhalations.

Have you ever mindfully noticed how your body reacts when it’s in panic mode?

It’s fascinatingly similar in likeness to your body being remotely occupied like a desktop computer by some tech assistant from a faraway land, who speaks an unrecognizable language, and keeps instructing you to do things you feel incapable of doing.

In other words, it’s easy to feel completely out of control.

In rapid succession, within the space of one week, three fairly-devastating events took place, delivering me to the very brink of my patience, and if I’m really honest, my sanity.

1. Just yesterday, while in the process of attempting to relocate and move my classroom resources after an extended parenthood leave, it dawned on me that due to a communication error more than 75% of my boxes had completely disappeared. Permanently. (Deep, deep freakin’ breath.)

2. Last week, after having had one of the most incredibly rewarding, gold-mine podcast interviews with a very VIP guest, my computer glitched, the software we were using to stage and record the call crashed unexpectedly and with it went the full hour-and-a-half interview. (Cue panicked hyperventilation.)

3. And, finally, yesterday morning, no sooner had the coffee touched my sleep-deprived lips, did I hear: “Moooooommmmmmyyy!”  To my horror, I discovered one of my blessed angels with ball-point-pen in hand and devious grin on face. There, laying face-up on our couch was the defaced page of Daniel Pink’s freshly-minted library-edition book I had meaning to dig into. (ARGH!!! Seriously, people?) The irony was not lost on me when upon closer inspection, the joyous scribbling had been contained to the opening page of the book, a quote:

 “Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” -Miles Davis

 

Was it a sign? Perhaps. With the intention of purchasing the book, I ripped the page out with purpose, and taped the quote to my fridge. Thank you, Miles Davis for the timely reminder of what truly matters in this world.

Although I may have lost some really important, seemingly irreplaceable items in short succession, the really important things in life will always remain intact.

These moments provide opportunities for deep practice in patience, letting go of our attachment to things, forgiveness (of self and others), adaptability, or at the very least, resisting the temptation to unleash unrelenting fury on the world.

Nestled within the struggle of ‘opportunities’ is the ability to rebuild a foundation that is even stronger than before.

Epilogue:

  1. Due to the generous nature of my podcast guest (and some reconfiguring of technical equipment), I was able to reschedule and rerecord the interview. I’d like to say that it was even better than the first.
  2. Those lost boxes enable me to enter a more minimalist approach to teaching, one I had always been meaning to adopt, anyway. No day like the present, I guess.
  3. In a way, I’m grateful for the quote. It was worth the $30 to be reminded to stay present in the now. It’s all we really ever have.

 

The Letter Every Teacher Should Write in June

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The Letter Every Teacher Should Write in June

Five years ago at the end of each school-year in the busy month of June, I started the practice of writing a letter to myself.  Like a ritual, I would seal the letter and place it in the left-hand drawer of my desk on the last day of school.  At the end of September, during the beginning of the following school year, a time when the lighthearted novelty of freshly sharpened pencils, crisp and clean notebooks, and excitement to ignite passion in the hearts of our students seems to melt like a brightly-coloured rainbow popsicle on a hot sunny day into thick greyish soup of overwhelm, lack of sleep, and a thorough sense of imposter syndrome, I would allow myself to pry open the letter. I would read each word slowly, with intention, allowing the message to sink into my skeptical spirit… reminding it that, yes, these students would get to where they needed to go. I just had to meet them where they were.

Patience. Time. Faith.

That was all I needed to keep in my mind over the coming months in order to stay afloat.

Throughout most of my career, I have had the pleasure of teaching Grade One, one of the most incredibly rewarding age-groups to teach because of the nature of exponential, near-explosive growth and learning that occurs in such a short period of time.

Like little jumping jellybeans, pint-size bodies file into the classroom in September,

eyes and hearts wide-open to the possibility of learning,

passionate about their beliefs,

sure-footed about their perspectives of the world,

filled with a desire be their authentic selves,

some students filled with trepidation,

others eager to show off their strengths,

certain children combative and oppositional,

other kids quiet and observing,

most are not yet able to

read,

write,

or do math.

There’s truly nothing like it!

It’s exhilarating.

It’s also incredibly exhausting.

But most of all, teaching Grade One (or any grade) can seem insurmountable in September.

The magic of the learning and deep growth that occurs within the soul of each child seems impossible to the rational teacher’s mind at the beginning of the year.

And so, the letter served to remind my “September-Self” that according to my “June-Self”…it would all work out.

No matter how long you’ve been teaching, the beginning of the year can seem tough. Why not take a moment now, in June, to reflect on how far your students have come, you have come together on your journey?

I urge you to jot it down on paper, pop it into an envelope and open that gift of insight and wisdom in September. It’ll alleviate some stress and create a sense of certainty for the future.

I guarantee, it’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself.