Ep. 89: How to be “Teacher of the Year” (With Kayla Dornfeld)

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

Kayla Dornfeld is the 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year, and Mrs. West Fargo International. Kayla is a two-time (2017 and 2018) Global Hundred honoree, recognizing her as 1 of the top 100 innovative educators in the world. The New York Times named her “one of the tech-savviest teachers in the United States”.

She has 13 years of teaching experience in second and third grade. Kayla holds her master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Dakota. In September 2018, she received the University of North Dakota Sioux Award, the highest honor of achievement offered by her University.

Governor Doug Burgum has recognized Kayla for her contributions to education in North Dakota, and assigned her a chair on North Dakota’s Innovative Education Task Force. 

She has been recognized as both an “ISTE Influencer” and “HarperCollins Publishing Influencer”. Additionally, in March 2018, she was named 1 of just 30 “All-Star Digital Innovators” in the United States by PBS. Who’s Who in America has also awarded Kayla for her contributions to education by publishing her biography.

Kayla frequently travels around the United States and other countries as a featured and keynote speaker. She has delivered hundreds of keynotes, one of note being at Twitter Headquarters. On July 23, 2015 she delivered her first TEDx Talk, Reimagining Classrooms: Students as Leaders and Teachers as Learners

Her work with classroom redesign and flexible seating has become the standard worldwide. She is currently writing a book about classroom learning spaces and flexible seating, titled FlexED: Flexible Seating for Flexible Learners, set to release in 2020. She is also a co-author of the best-selling book Education Write Now, published in December 2017, and 10 Perspectives on Learning in Education, coming out in December 2019.

You can connect with Kayla on all social media platforms @topdogteaching, and her student led social media accounts @topdogkids.

 

21-Days of (Physically-Distanced) Kindness

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As we make preparations to move back into the classroom in British Columbia, tensions are high and people across sectors are scrambling to accommodate back-to-work orders in a physically-distanced, Covid-pandemic era.

I’ve been scouring the internet for ideas that will enable me to continue supporting my students’ online learning and Social Emotional Learning, while attempting to prepare to provide loving, caring, and educational in-person learning opportunities within the physical school building.

While I am still on the hunt for wonderful physically-distanced group games and community building activities, I know that creating an environment of kindness and empathy is essential to helping all of us feel psychologically safe at a time when so much feels uncertain.

When we are in stress, cortisol blocks our ability to connect meaningfully to one another. Our social connections have been proven to be central to our well-being as human being. One of the ways that we can counteract the negative effects of cortisol is to be kind! Oxytocin (the love hormone) is released when we’re kind to one another, which decreases our stress levels.

Co-regulation is our ability to convey calm emotions and state of mind just by modelling it. Because of the way that our brain architecture works, all of our emotions are contagious. Back in the caveman days, our mirror neutrons helped us to pick up on danger signals by interpreting the facial expressions, vocal tone, and body language of those around to determine whether we were in safety or danger.

In order to foster a calm, happy classroom environment, it will be helpful for educators to model that calm and joyful energy so that we can co-regulate with our colleagues, administrators, the parents, and, most importantly, our students.

I’ve created 21-Days of Physically-Distanced Kindness that I thought might be a helpful first step in creating a happier online or in-person classroom experience.

Here is the free google-doc for your use. Please feel free to use it, share it, and adapt it (just make a copy). It offers 7 ways to be kind to yourself, 7 ways to be kind to others, and 7 ways to be kind to the world.

Also, I’ve recorded a few Covid-specific episodes for your listening pleasure:

  1. Dr. Shimi Kang : Healthy Heartfelt Habits for the Covid Crisis
  2. Dr. Jody Carrington: Not Today Corrrrona! How to survive the pandemic while working from home, balancing kids, and trying not to lose your mind.
  3. Trevor Mackenzie: Distance Learning Through Inquiry
  4. What to do with a Problem: A reflection from me to you about how to lean into the tough emotions you might be feeling and to come out the other end without self-judgement.

 

Commit or Quit?

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There are four statements that super-entrepreneurs, Chase Jarvis and Chris Guillibeau suggest you should consider before you commit or quit a current endeavour. Quite often, we’re scared of quitting…of being branded as non-committal, of giving up before the getting is good.
It turns out that quitting is important. Our resources (time, money, attention) are often finite, so the more we engage with, the more fractured our capabilities become.
So, think about your current endeavour in relation to these 4 statements. It’s kind of like choose your own adventure…
You love it and it’s working.
  • Best case scenario…keep going!
You hate it and it’s working. 
  • This can be tricky. Ask yourself what can be changed about either your expectations or how you can bring more joy into your current endeavour. Even if something makes you a lot of money, it may not always make for a happy and fulfilled life.
You love it and it’s not working.
  • How can you find a way to serve the audience better or how can you reconcile what isn’t working with the fact that you love this endeavour as a hobby? Sometimes, it can be as easy as rebranding what we thought we were hoping to achieve. If it’s just a hobby…it really doesn’t owe you anything.
You hate it and it’s not working.
  • This seems pretty clear, right? Find something else ASAP and ditch the gig.

*”working” can mean making money, making impact, or enabling you to have more freedom

Ep. 90: The Dope Educator (With David Jay)

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

Featured on Access Hollywood | Instagram @thedopeeducator | I inspire | Educator | Speaker |

This teacher has found a way to get his fifth graders pumped up for learning: He challenges them to create their own handshakes.

David Jamison, a language arts teacher at Hickory Ridge Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee, memorized the individual greetings from each of the 75 students he teaches.

Classes are separated into groups of three and Jamison greets every student with their unique handshakes

“It increases that bond with the students,” he told “Good Morning America.” “When you have that kind of relationship with a kid, they don’t want to let you down because they know you love and care for them.”

Shelby County Schools shared a video of the handshakes on Twitter, where its been viewed 20,000 times.

“I was overwhelmed,” Jamison said of the viral attention. “That was the key to spread more positivity.”

Jamison, a father of one, said it’s his third year teaching and he’s done the handshakes each year.

It takes Jamison about a minute to do the handshakes with each group. It’s followed by “Do Now” classwork, where the kids get right to work practicing a lesson they learned the day prior.

The one with the most innovative handshake wins a prize from Jamison. This term’s winner will be announced next week, he said.

 

Follow him on Instagram at @thedopeeducator

 

 

Not Today Corrrrrrrona! (With Dr. Jody Carrington)

 

CarringtonJody_18_428-768x1152Dr. Jody Carrington (child psychologist and author of Kids These Days) talks to me about the Corona Virus pandemic and what we can do to get a grip during this uncertain rollercoaster ride.

Listen as she outlines how we can:

-navigate the topsy turvy disruption in routine and the world as we know it
-create the illusion of proximity through remote connection (since we’re all wired and hungry for it)
-overcome the overwhelm and bring ourselves back to joy
-rise above the “chippiness” in our relationships… “now is not the time for a divorce!”
-engage in self-compassion practices that help us to avoid comparison and self-judgement

We are all just walking each other home. As long as we’re ok, the kids will be ok.

Keep your eyes open for the educator follow up to Kids These Days this fall, as Dr. Jody Carrington teams up with the amazing Laurie McIntosh when they release their new book

OFFICIAL BIO

Over the past 15 years, Dr. Jody Carrington has assessed, treated, educated and empowered some of our most vulnerable and precious souls on the planet. She is a child psychologist by trade, but Jody rarely treats kids. The answer lies, she believes, in the people who hold them. Especially when kids have experienced trauma, that’s when they need big people the most. Some of her favourites include educators, parents, first responders, and foster parents. Jody has shifted the way they think and feel about the holy work that they do.

Before Jody started her own practice and speaking across the country, she worked at the Alberta Children’s Hospital on the inpatient and day treatment units where she held families with some of the difficult stories. They taught her the most important lesson: we are wired to do hard things. We can handle those hard things so much easier when we remember this: we are wired for connection.

This all started when Jody received her Bachelor of Arts with Distinction from the University of Alberta. She completed a year-long internship with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during that time, and worked along side families struggling with chronic illness at the Ronald McDonald House. She received her Master’s degree in Psychology at the University of Regina and completed her PhD there as well, before completing her residency in Nova Scotia.

Her first book, Kids These Days: A Game Plan for (Re)Connecting with those we Teach, Lead & Love, came out in 2019 and sold 20,000 copies in just three months. It is now on Amazon’s Best Sellers List.

 

Distance Learning Through Inquiry (with Trevor Mackenzie)

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In this unprecedented time of distance learning due to Covid-19, Trevor Mackenzie takes us through how to plan for your students remotely. He shares:

-the most important things to keep in mind before planning even begins

-his favourite platforms that really work for asynchronous and real-time instruction

-the one trick you need to keep in mind as you’re planning in order to keep things simple for yourself, the parents, and the students you serve

-how to keep inquiry at the forefront of your planning in order to create a truly differentiated experience

 

Listen here! 

 

Am I a Storyteller?

It was in Grade Two when I first had the audacity to create an after-school writing club with a handful of friends.
Audacious, because my teacher believed that although I showed hints of “potential,” my story craft was evidently pretty weak.
Every week or so after the final bell rang, my little crew and I would race onto the bus, walk the 1/2 mile of gravel road to my front door, plunk ourselves down at my kitchen table, and we’d begin.
I think in hindsight that the others came for the snacks. I bumbled through that year with the unwavering belief that I was a storyteller.
Soon, with advent of a few strong personalities and notable events in my life, that belief transformed into doubt. I began curating my contributions and took on the role of observer.
The truth is that until recently, I’ve rushed to the punch-line, unable to own my slice of the limelight.
Not long after my children were born, I tuned back into the little whispers and the deep restlessness I felt.
I began writing.
It wasn’t “good” but it was my voice. Clarity and passions emerged… ideas… interests.
My joyful observation and curiosity then pushed me to start a podcast.
I am honoured to listen to the stories of countless people and delight in connecting them to my own, to the narrative of common humanity that runs through all of us.
Now, I have been delighting in creating workshops for educators around creating belonging, and I understand the engaging power of story.
I am have stepped back into the belief that I am a storyteller.
How about you?
I’d love to hear your story of how some of this content has changed your viewpoint.
#kindsight101 #smallactbigimpact #teachers

 

Ep. 89: Creating Calm in the Covid-19 Chaos (with Stefanie Szewczyk)

Let’s face it. The world as we know it has changed for the foreseeable future. Schools are closed. Essential services are the only businesses allowed to function. Covid-19 has ravaged much of Asia, Europe, and has made its way into the cities of North America.

As parents, business leaders, and teachers, we have been left scrambling to bring some sense of calm into the chaos. Many of us have had to face the new reality of online remote learning, while balancing the needs of our own children and job responsibilities.

Today, I speak with Stefanie Szewczyk, a fellow mom, virtual assistant, and project manager about the realities of working from home, how to schedule your day for optimal productivity, how to be kind to yourself in the process, and learning how to give your children what they need in this difficult time.

Please enjoy our conversation, as we attempt to bring calm to the chaos.

 

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

What If We Had User Manuals for People?

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Dr. Adam Grant suggests that we should all get clear on what makes us tick in order to play better with others. 

What if we issued user-manual that made it easier for people to work with us? It’s almost certain that conflicts and misunderstandings would decrease and productivity would increase.

That’s exactly what Dr. Adam Grant decided to do, after receiving some negative feedback from members of his team. He decided that it would be helpful for those around him to provide him with some specific feedback about his strengths and his blind spots.

It turns out that the user manual was a brilliant document that enabled people to interact with Grant in an effective, productive manner. Many people and companies have adopted this strategy in their businesses and organizations.

What if we took this approach with school? It’s possible we could do this with our colleagues, with our students, even with our administration to amplify connections.

Here’s how you can start.

Part I:

Here are the questions that Dr. Grant suggests you should reflect on the following three questions:  ask when creating your own personal User Manual:

  1. What are my strengths? How can someone bring these out in me?
  2. What are my weaknesses? What tends to bring those out?
  3. What are some of my “bright spots” (the spots that are strengths I might tend to see)?

Part II:

Think of 5-10 people who work, live, and play alongside you and ask them to answer some questions about you. These should be you genuinely like and trust. You could send out a google doc or a quick email to see what comes back.

  1. Reflected Best-Self: Ask 15-20 colleagues to contribute stories of times when you were at your best.
  2. Next, analyse the stories and find common themes. What activates my being at my best?
  3. Ask these colleagues to reflect on the following questions about you:
    1. What are my blind spots?
    2. Triggers that bring out the worst in me?
    3. What do you wish you knew about me when we first started working together?

Take all of this information and put it into a one-pager that highlights your strengths, stretches (with triggers), and ideal communication style.

 

Written by Morgane Michael #smallactbigimpact #kindsight101

 

 

 

Ep. 82: The More We Get Together (With Raffi)

 

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Millions know Raffi for his work as a children’s entertainer whose string of gold and platinum-selling recordings in North America includes his classic “Baby Beluga” song with its beloved melody and lyrics. But a very interesting piece of Raffi’s story is not as well known: Raffi’s pioneering commitment to honouring his young fans changed the way we came to view music made for children. Founding his own record label, Troubadour, then folk musician Raffi set out on a path that rescued children’s recordings from bargain bin pricing and sub-par production values.

In 1976, with help from Ken Whiteley and Daniel Lanois, Raffi made sure that his recordings met the highest standards. Raffi convinced retailers that parents would pay regular price for quality music for their children, and he was right. Teachers, parents and kids took an immediate liking to the kind of songwriting and recording Raffi offered, perhaps because of the respect that was obvious in his material and the playful delivery that always clicked with the kids. Soon, the media were knocking at Raffi’s door.

Because of his belief that children should not be exposed to too much television viewing and that they should not be directly marketed to, during his thirty-year career as a superstar of kid’s music Raffi refused all offers for commercial television shows and commercial endorsements. Even recently, when approached by a Hollywood production company to do a film based on “Baby Beluga,” he declined when told that the film’s marketing would include direct advertising to children. This is only one of a series of lucrative deals Raffi and Troubadour have declined over the years.


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