Belonging Starts with a Smile

person holding round smiling emoji board photo
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Belonging

It turns out that belonging is a greater predictor of life-expectancy, well-being, happiness, and fulfillment than heart health, poverty, smoking, or obesity.

We can all affect the environments in which we live through our actions, because of the contagiousness of our behaviour.

Due to our nature as community-seeking beings, we were wired to seek out belonging through our connections to others. The mirror neurons in our bodies are designed to help us react and mimic the behaviours of those around us so that we will belong more easily.

In an attempt to improve their organization in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana-based Oschner Health System tried an out-of-the-box experiment. In his best-selling book “Before Happiness,” author Shawn Achor writes about the hospital’s decision to try to “raise levels of happiness first.” Oschner Health looked outside the usual medical literature and found a secret ingredient used by Ritz-Carlton hotels.

The 10/5 way “turns out to be the perfect example of how to transform an organization through positive inception. The 10/5 way involves just a few simple behavioral rules that all staff are trained to follow. If a guest walks by a Ritz employee within ten feet, the employee should make eye contact and smile. If that guest walks by within five feet, the employee should say, ‘Hello.'”

Despite initial skepticism, this deceptively simple technique “completely transformed the shared reality at the hospital. Not only did this improve patients’ satisfaction with care, it improved outcomes for the hospital,” Achor explained. He urges his readers to “try implementing the 10/5 way in your office or household.”

Just try it out.  Look at someone in the eyes and give them a big smile. Chances are, they’ll smile right back at you. Our neuro-receptors release oxytocin (the love/belonging hormone) when someone smiles at us and when we smile. Smiling, because of our mirror neurons, has the power to change our brain chemistry. When we witness someone smiling or laughing, our brain responds as though we were laughing and smiling. So, just being around happy, joyous people can change the way we feel.

How can you contribute to your workplace, learning space, or community in such a way that you ignite a culture of belonging? What action can you take to help someone feel seen, heard, and valued, today?

#smallactbigimpact #kindsight101 #podcast #21daychallenge

person holding round smiling emoji board photo

#kindnessninjas The October Challenge

IMG_2876Allie Apels and The Kindness Ninjas:

I recently had the amazing Allie Apels of @joysofkinder on my podcast to discuss the transformative power of her brainchild “Kindness Ninjas” Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program in her kindergarten class (#kindnessninjas).

Essentially, a few years ago, when Allie was faced with one of the most challenging groups of children she had ever taught, she and her teaching partner (yes, there were two teachers allocated to one class due to the high level of needs), came up with a brilliant way to encourage the development of a kind and supportive classroom. They introduced a kindness ambassador: the kindness ninja. Every day, leading up to Christmas break, Allie and her class would be greeted by the kindness ninja who would leave them notes and various random acts of kindness missions.

She explained that the experience was completely transformative. The class came together as a team and that year wound up becoming one of Allie’s favourite years as a teacher.

All About Our 15-Day Kindness Ninja Video Challenge Synergy

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Not long after our conversation went live, we got the best idea ever and now…it’s about to go live!

This October, Allie and I are collaborating to bring your classroom an exciting synergy between the 21-Day-Kindness-Challenge and the Kindness Ninjas.

Every day, staring October 7th, 2019, we will be posting on our Instagram accounts 15 school-days worth of kindness ninja challenges to complete with your class. Our little kindness ninja will speak to your children through video using the chatterpix app.

We debated sharing the challenges ahead of time (we love a surprise), and decided to do so in order to give you amazing educators a head-start in your planning. Also, we will be posting the videos eventually to YouTube so that you can follow along on your own timeline at a later time!

How to Participate in the Challenge

  1. Follow us to see the videos! Follow Allie Apels on Instagram @joysofkinder and Morgane Michael @smallactbigimpact. 
  2. Watch the daily videos with your students-comment, tag others to join, use the hashtag #kindnessninjas, and don’t forget to tag us in your comments/photos/examples! We love seeing your journey, too!
  3. Participate in all 15 challenges (tagging us and linking the hashtag, too) and you’ll enter to win a prize at the end of the challenge!
  4. Spread the love and kindness to your school, workplace and community!

HERE’s A DIRECT LINK TO THE YOUTUBE VIDEOS-in FRENCH & ENGLISH 

Step-by-Step Breakdown with Prep Lists

  1. Day one: Create calming jars. Sneak into another classroom and leave the jars on the teacher’s desk for the class to enjoy.
    • Items you’ll need: A tube of clear or glitter glue, container of glitter, food colouring, jar with an airtight seal, Krazy glue to secure the lid. 

  2. Day two: Work together to create a collaborative mural with an encouraging kindness message for your school.
    • Items you might need-large bulletin-board paper, bulletin board letters, paint
    • Here are some examples of ideas that we’ve seen and love: 

  3. Day three: Line up along the hallways and offer smiles and high-fives to students when they come in from recess.ADB9C979-2E53-4B84-9B6A-2637DF7FD14B
  4. Day four: Make Thanksgiving Art for a nearby senior’s centre and deliver it to them before the holiday to make their hearts a little fuller.7531198384_IMG_9043
  5. Day five: Offer to help clean up your school grounds or a particular area of your school. Your custodian will thank you!
    • Items you might need: Picker-upper sticks, gloves, bags
    • Don’t forget to remind your kids about safety! You don’t want anyone picking up dangerous litter and hurting themselves.
  6. Day six: Make kindness pencils by attaching a kind message flag to colourful pencils, then sneak into another class and deposit them on their desks.
    • You’ll need pencils, little paper flags (white labels work, make little flags out of paper, or pay $2 to use this template 

  7. Day seven: Create a giant card for a special staff member in your school to show your gratitude for all that they do.
  8. Day eight: Bring a book from home, wrap it, and gift it to another class. Or, wrap several books and leave them in special places for members of your community to find.mrsmacsbooks
    • Mrs. McIntosh from Alberta, Canada recently did an amazing job wrapping and hiding gently loved books to her community. Check out her blog post about it!
    • What you will need: Gently loved books (one from the class or one from each student), wrapping paper (make, use newsprint, or purchase), notes explaining who it’s for and what it’s for. Check out Mrs. Mac’s example.
  9. Day nine: Write or trace notes of appreciation for the staff members of your school. Place the notes in their mailboxes or on their vehicle windshields.
  10. Day ten: Create a kindness cart to deliver cold beverages and snacks to teachers in your school (or set up the staff room for a special surprise treat day before lunch or recess):kidnesscart
    • What you’ll need: beverages (large containers of iced tea/lemonade/tea/sparkling water and coffee) or individual cans. Also, cookies/crackers and cheese/and homemade treats are always appreciated.
    • Students can make small posters or cards expressing their gratitude for those who serve the school.
  11. Day eleven: Create posters with uplifting and positive messages on them. When everyone is out for recess, tape them up on the mirrors of the bathrooms for all to see. Here is a free set of speech-bubble postersPosters to DecorateColour-in Postersor make your own (here are some quoteideas)! 

  12. Day twelve: Create kindness clothespinswith lovely messages to pin on staff and students within your school.
    • Check out some of thclothespine ideas from happinessishomemade.net about the kindness clothespins.
    • You’ll need paint, modge-podge, and some small-sized printouts of encouraging messages to adapt this project for the classroom.
  13. Day thirteen: Create beautiful kindness bookmarks with encouraging notes on them. Sneak into your school library and hide them in the books. Here is a template from TPTBe Kind TemplateMultiple Message Bookmarks 

  14. Day fourteen: Write special letters to people in your family thanking them for all that they do for you. Use fancy paper and envelopes to make it extra special.
  15. Day fifteen: Make a kindness big-book to gift to another class, to inspire them to be kind within your school. Each person can make a page to tell one way to be a kindness ninja. You could even send it to another school to spread the ripples of kindness throughout your community.

#kindnessninjas #smallactbigimpact #kindsight101

 

 

Ep 72- Solving Challenging Behaviour (with Dr. Ross Greene)

89A1FF33-277B-4DB9-8D19-E6CB3C920B0Bhttps://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/kindsight-101/id1412489005?mt=2

If you are an educator, school administrator, parent, camp counsellor, or employer, chances are you’ve had experience with challenging behaviours.

So often, we focus on crisis-management and behaviour-modification to attempt to make challenging behaviours “go away,” but as we know, sticker charts and reward systems do little to encourage intrinsic motivation and, furthermore, do not address the underlying problems that cause the problematic behaviours.

I sat down with Dr. Ross Greene this summer to discuss his Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model in order to learn how we can solve some of the most challenging school behaviours.

Here are some things we discuss:

  • The Four Main Philosophies that guide Collaborative Proactive Solutions:
  1. Kids do well if they can.
  2. Your explanation guides your intervention.
  3. Be responsible to the hand you’ve been dealt.
  4. Challenging behaviours occur when certain demands and expectations exceed a kid’s ability to respond adaptively to their environment. It’s a method of communication.
  • The Three Main “Umbrella” Lagging Skills
  1. Flexibility/ Adaptability
  2. Frustration Tolerance
  3. Problem Solving
  • Inclusion through the lens of teaching lagging skills and taking an empathic approach to adapting to problems integrating 100% of the time within the classroom for 100% of tasks
  • The Most Important Skill for an educator to lead with
  • A Step-by-Step Framework to Implement CPS  
    1. Empathy Step: Information gathering from the student- “What is hard for you about___? How does that make it hard for you to ____?”
    2. Define Adult Concerns: Explain and articulate adult expectations
    3. Invitation: Collaboration on a solution (having the student come up with some possible solutions to the problem and coming to a realistic, mutually satisfactory solution. “I wonder if there is something we can do about ____ do that you can ____? Do you have any ideas?”
  • A Real World Example of CPS in Action: Dr. Greene takes us through a step-by-step example of the process
  • Dr. Ross Greene answers 2 audience questions related to: 
    • Teen peer pressure
    • School-Family Partnerships
  • Dr. Ross Greene’s book recommendation: Sara Laurence Lightfoot‘s The Essential Conversation

Dr. Ross W. Greene is the author of Raising Human Beings, Lost and Found, Lost at School, and The Explosive Child. Dr. Greene was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for over twenty years, and is now founding director of the nonprofit organization Lives in the Balance (LivesintheBalance.org), through which he disseminates the model of care—now called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions—described in his books. Dr. Greene’s research has been funded by the US Department of Education, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Stanley Medical Research Institute, and the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group. He speaks widely throughout the world.

“We cannot solve problems with the same thinking that created them.”
Albert Einstein


Lives in the Balance
 is the non-profit organization founded by child psychologist Dr. Ross Greene, originator of the empirically supported Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach and New York Times bestselling author of the influential books The Explosive Child, Lost at SchoolLost & Found, and Raising Human Beings. 

Their vision is to foster collaboration and empathy, transform lives, and inspire change for all children (especially the most vulnerable), to heighten awareness of the detrimental and counterproductive effects of punitive interventions, and to address the systemic issues that impede our progress.

The mission of Lives in the Balance is to provide vital, accessible resources and programs to caregivers of behaviorally challenging kids; to bring the plight of these kids into the public consciousness; to address the systemic issues that cause many of these kids to slip through the cracks; and to promote parenting and disciplinary practices that foster the better side of human nature in all children. Their efforts are organized around the following initiatives:

Open Access: Through their Outreach initiatives — which include their website, their radio programs and Facebook groups, and their annual Summit — we ensure that parents, educators, mental health clinicians, and staff in restrictive therapeutic facilities have easy access to vast resources on the CPS model at little or no cost.

Lead the Change: Through their Advocacy efforts, they heighten awareness of the obsolete, counterproductive ways in which many behaviorally challenging kids are still treated; take action whenever we learn of schools and facilities that are treating kids — behaviorally challenging or not — in ways that are punitive, adversarial, and counterproductive; and provide consultation and training on non-punitive, non-adversarial, collaborative, proactive alternatives.

Fix The System: Through their proof-of-concept project — Invest in Maine’s At-Risk Kids (i-MARK) — we’re showing how a public-private partnership can eliminate many of the systemic issues that make it hard for at-risk kids and their families to access and receive the help they need. Once we’ve shown what can be done in one state, we’ll export the model to other states, provinces, and countries.

Lives in the Balance is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your gift may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes. Our programs are funded by Dr. Greene and other philanthropic individuals and organizations. If you’re interested in supporting their vision and mission, please contact them by phone or by using the contact form on their website.

No One Can Do – What You Do – Like You Do

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When we embark on a new creative venture, what often begins as a feeling of excitement can quickly transform into overwhelm.

Too often, when we express ourselves through art, take creative risks, or engage in work that challenges the status quo, self-destructive voices audibly whisper two of the following shame-fuelled messages:

“You’re not good enough.”

and/or

“Who the hell do you think you are?”

Those two powerful messages can stop us in our tracks, preventing us from sharing our story or our art with those who desperately need to hear it.
Fear masquerades as perfectionism and procrastination.
It’s a blessing to remind fellow creatives of their inherent value to the world.
Your story.

Your experience.

Your perspective.

Your pain points.

No one sees the world quite like you.

To be able to share your unique perspective with others is a gift.

It opens eyes.

It enables people to feel validated.

#kindsight101 #smallactbigimpact#inspiration #journey #happyquotes#inspirationalquotes #create #make#write #sing #art #podcast#brenebrownquotes #resilience #grit#thedip

Byron Katie and Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations

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I was recently listening to Oprah Winfrey’s Supersoul Conversations Podcast (which is amazing, BTW) and stumbled upon a conversation with Byron Katie about a really fascinating way that we can elongate the space between stimulus and response (a Viktor Frankel reference about the way that we can have more ownership and agency over the way we react to the challenges that life hands us).

She has a great 4-question framework that has done wonders in terms of re-thinking the worst-case scenario narratives that often start ramping up when things go sideways. I wanted to share them with YOU!

Imagine you’ve made plans with someone and you just can’t seem to get ahold of them. Perhaps, you start thinking that they are trying to avoid you or, worse, you think that something terrible has happened to them. Whatever your thought cycle, here’s a framework that can help you to dig yourself out:

  1. Is it true? Can I absolutely know that this is TRUTH? This is likely a story I am telling myself about what might have happened. 
  2. How can I check that this is true? I could call. I could think back to past behaviours to see what might be in line with who this person usually is. 
  3. How do I react when I believe this to be true? Unkind? Vengeful? Tearful? Guilty? Mind attack? Certainty-seeking? Imagining the worst?
  4. Who would you be without that thought? Peaceful. Trusting. Worthy. Enough. Faith-filled. 

E 69 – Everything is Figure-Outable (With Dan Buchner)

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/kindsight-101/id1412489005?mt=2

Dan Buchner is an award winning designer, entrepreneur, educator, and leadership facilitator and the ceo of Praktikel.

He designed and delivered custom Innovation Leadership programs for leading organizations such as Baxter Healthcare, Eaton Corporation, McDonalds, General Motors and Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. Dan is a sought-after international keynote speaker and facilitator on innovation practices and organizational strategies. Thousands of people around the world have had their thinking shifted and been inspired to action by his practical perspective on innovation, leadership and organizational change.

I wanted to have Dan Buchner onto KindSight 101 to talk about the ways that innovation, leadership and learning interconnect within this global world and the ways that edcuators can foster environments that encourage creative thinking vs. compliance.

Everything is figureoutable.

In this episode, you’ll learn the step-by-step formula for figuring anything out. You’ll learn the one thing that every student needs for success in the real world and how you can be the one to help them acquire it.

– You’ll learn how to balance the need for organization and the drive for creativity.

– You’ll learn how balancing the need for creativity is like balancing your investment portfolio.

– You’ll learn the most important skill and trait a teacher needs to have to be effective.

What an inspiration!

E 68 – Self-Care through Visual Storytelling (With Deborah LeFrank)

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/kindsight-101/id1412489005?mt=2

Deborah Le Frank believes that inside every person – is a collection of stories and memories. Her job is to draw them out of her clients creating a visually engaging Visual Life Story that is deeply meaningful and creates a legacy and connection between generations.

With the recent popularity of sketchnoting in schools, I wanted to have her on the show to talk about the different ways that we can use visuals to tell a compelling story about ourselves and our students. We learn the three life lessons that can help us live a fuller life and to help our students to do the same for themselves.

– We learn the significant moment in Deborah’s life that made her change the way she looked at the way we create and hang on to our memories.
– Some practical ways to invite sketch-noting into our lives.
– Compelling reasons to record a story from your life every month!
– The power of sketch-noting as a method to enable learners to capture their connections and realizations in a more full way.

You can find out more about her at [Visual Life Stories][1]
[1]: http://visuallifestories.com

E 67 – How to be a Connection Ninja (With David Knapp-Fisher)

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How do you make authentic connections with people?

How can we teach kids to do the same?

What are some of the keys that will enable students to be successful in the uncertain future world they face?

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/kindsight-101/id1412489005?mt=2

I want to introduce you to my friend, David Knapp-Fisher, a connection ninja, speaker, author, world-traveller, and speaking coach.

In this episode, we talk about his journey as an advocate for his son living through muscular dystrophy, what it takes to set and achieve audacious goals, how self-education is the key to the future, the importance of service and gratitude in helping you get where you want, and the four steps to creating lasting connections with the people you serve.

We’ll talk about simple ways you can improve your (and your student’s) speaking through an easy formula.

We talk about the following game-changing books and authors:

– Tim Ferriss (Tools of Titans, 4 Hour Work Week)
– Richard Branson
– Tony Robbins
– Marc Marron
– Thoreau (Waldon)
– Mike Vardy
– Janelle Morrison
– Chris Gillebeau
– Jerry Lewis
– Jim Rohn

Can’t wait to hear your takeaways from this action-packed podcast.

Check out his TED talk here: https://youtu.be/t186tlhjvMk

Check out his website here: http://davidknappfisher.com

Favourite Mantras for the Classroom

I was inspired to create this post after hearing an episode of Barbara Gruener’s Corner on Character  podcast episodes.

One of her guests talked about the power of mantras in helping to form a positive and encouraging classroom culture. I loved the idea. While I have strong values, I haven’t always articulated these into classroom mantras so that kids could hear how much I love, appreciate them, and how we can train our brains to overcome the tough stuff- the dips in life.

So, here are a few of my favourite mantras for the classroom. I hope you’ll share some of your own with me, too!

  • I am surrounded by greatness!
  • I am full of gratitude!
  • Don’t give up, don’t give in, there’s always an answer to everything.
  • There are no mistakes in art!
  • I loved you before you even showed up.
  • Listen to your heart; it will never let you down.
  • Kindness is better than getting your own way.
  • Fail gloriously!
  • Judge less, love more.
  • Do it and forget it.
  • It’s not what you do, it’s what you don’t do that counts.
  • You write the ending to your story.
  • There’s always something to be grateful for.
  • Start each day with a grateful heart.
  • If you can say it, you can write it.
  • You can do this!
  • I believe in you!
  • I am so proud of you!

What are some of your favourite mantras?

E 66 – Choose to Rise (With Janelle Morrison)

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/kindsight-101/id1412489005?mt=2We all have those moments, real life crashes that provide us with an opportunity to choose fear or choose to rise above the adversity and find a way to move forward. What does it take to be a real hero?

How can we learn to rise above our circumstances, teaching our students to do the same, while balancing an attitude of self-compassion and patience?

In this episode, I talk with Janelle Morrison, an ultra marathoner and educator who beat the odds recovering and racing again 2 years after a devastating crash landed her in the ICU in a coma with a broken bones throughout her body.

You’ll hear the surprising thing she learned about self-compassion and what it takes to be a true hero.

We talk perfectionism, heartbreak, and overcoming adversity and how we can help our students to become their best selves while holding onto a sense of unconditional acceptance of themselves no matter their situation. You can learn more about Janelle on janellemorrison.com.

Also, take some time to view the film documenting her recovery and journey.

Hope you enjoy.

– You’ll learn how to rebuild after a crash.
– Some practical ways that we can choose to rise.
– You’ll learn advice for setting powerful goals that strike a balance between being audacious, healthy and realistic.
– We talk about the power of hope and fear in propelling us forward.
-We talk about the three essential questions everyone needs to ask themselves during a crisis of identity.
-We explore the secret to stopping your own limiting thoughts and behaviour in order to realign yourself with your goals and vision.

The Power to Choose.

#choosetorise
[1]: http://www.janellemorrison.com
[2]: http://www.janellemorrison.com/documentary-film/

 

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