E8: Defying the Status Quo: The Unique School that *Actually* Teaches for the Future (with Founder Jeff Hopkins)

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Have you ever wanted to start your own school? This discussion will have you wanting to rethink the way you approach education in your own classroom. My guest explores the importance of creating a school that values student voice, utilizes the inquiry process to prepare students for the uncertain future, and focuses on the importance of creating a psychologically safe classroom culture in order to foster creativity and innovation. Hope you love it as much as I did!

Jeff Hopkins is the founder and Principal Educator of the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry – an independent high school in Victoria designed to provide a model for education system transformation. His ted talks: “Education as if people mattered” and “An inquiry approach to education” have earned him global attention. Find him by searching Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry. For more information visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][1] and search for episode # 8.

He has been an educator since 1993. He has taught many different subjects, including literature, physics, history, and psychology, and has been a counsellor, principal, and school district superintendent, among other things. Jeff was BC’s first Safe Schools Coordinator, working to address issues of intimidation, harassment, anxiety, and suicide through programs that promote equitable, engaging, and welcoming school environments. Jeff is the founder and [Principal Educator of the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry][2] – an independent high school in Victoria designed to provide a model for education system transformation. Inspired by the notion of “consilience,” – the unity of knowledge — PSII helps its learners to transcend traditional high school subject silos through an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based approach. He often refers to his approach as [“Education as if people mattered.”][3] This was also the title of his 2015 TEDx Victoria talk. In 2013-14, Jeff was the University of Victoria’s first “Educator in Residence,” offering support and inspiration to education students and faculty in their contemplation of what an education system could be. He was also named UVic’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2018. Jeff has been invited to present his ideas on education and schools at dozens of conferences throughout BC, in other provinces, and internationally. First and foremost, Jeff is a father of two and a husband.

[2]: http://learningstorm.org
[3]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O5PK6LsymM

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

E 6: Is it Bullying or is it Normal Conflict? How to Spot it, What to Do About it, and What to Say to Save the Day (with Dr. Shimi Kang)

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In this mini episode, you’ll learn the important nuanced distinction between normal relational conflict, mean behavior, and legitimate bullying and how to address each one within the classroom. If you want to support your students to become resilient, independent, and empowered, this is the episode for you!

This is an episode every educator and parent should view and share at the beginning of the school year.

Dr. Shimi Kang is an award-winning, Harvard-trained doctor, Researcher , Media Expert, Bestselling Author , and Speaker. She is the former Medical Director for Child and Youth Mental Health for Vancouver community, a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, and the founder of the Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders Program at BC Children’s Hospital. Her books The Dolphin Way™: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Motivated Kids Without Turning Into A Tiger (Penguin Books 2014) and ” The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids ” are #1 Bestsellers! And she also has a new title out “The Self-Motivated Kid: How to Raise a Healthy, Happy Child Who Knows What they Want and Goes After It (Without Being Told).
She is also the founder of the DolphinPOD school , located in India and dedicated to developing the key 21st century life skills. She also heads up The DolphinKIDS Achievement Programs which are designed to develop the mindset and life skills to achieve your dreams!
She is most proud of receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding community service and being a mother of three amazing but exhausting children!
Dr. Kang can be found on social media @drshimikang
For more information about Dr. Kang, her amazing schools, or books, visit her website.

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 Anxiety

So, it turns out that I’m not so good at transitions. For years as an educator, I’ve worked hard to meet my students halfway when it comes to transitions, especially the ones who specifically struggle to switch from one activity to another.

To prevent cataclysmic meltdowns, I did what every teacher does:

  • 5-minute warnings before an activity change,
  • providing a chance to process feelings with support when they were struggling,
  • using visual cuing schedules and sensory non-verbal signals,
  • and employing strategies that would ensure success throughout the day…the list goes on.

What’s ironic, however, is that I’ve often ignored and ‘pushed through’ my own anxieties during transition times. The beginning of university. The end of university. My first year as a teacher. The beginning of each school year. The end of each school year. The birth of each of my two children. Each new thing I try that might not work or that feels uncertain.

I guess, I never thought much about the need to create strategies and routines to keep myself regulated. These days, as I attune myself more mindfully to my thoughts and emotional state, I’ve noticed how much I feel the weight of big changes in my life, and I don’t think I’m alone.

As I prepare to head back into the classroom after a two-year hiatus at home with my children, I can feel the waves of uncertainty washing over me again, anxiety creeping into my belly, and I seem to be rising just a little earlier each day…all signals, like a canary in a mineshaft, that a big transition is looming. And it is. This year, I’ll be teaching English, which is delightfully exciting to me. I recently heard that August is comparable to a long, anxiety-filled Sunday where you wind up spending a lot of your time fretting about the inevitability of Monday. Sounds about right. You can feel it in the air. September is approaching at a speedy gallop. Ready or not, here it comes.

Two weeks ago, as reality hit me hard, I responded with my best tried and true strategy: panic-induced certainty-seeking. For two straight days, I ventured into my new, virtually empty classroom and prepped my room for the year. The entire weekend, I gathered, arranged, and curated carefully chosen items for my classroom.

Borders. Check.

Alternative seating. Check.

Matching book bins. Check.

Organized learning areas. Check.

Table lamps. Check.

(This is the “before”)

Although, I really hadn’t planned anything concrete lesson-wise, the room looked pretty and systematized. In other words, my brain was doing dopamine backflips of happiness. Certainty, at last!

That moment of triumph lasted only a few minutes as I quickly realized that I required a variety of books for my students to read and had virtually none because I had given away my old books (which had been in French, anyway). Additionally, many of the toys and learning tools I had used in the past, belonged with my old school.  Since my toy and book supply was lacking (as were my dwindling classroom funds), I decided to put a call out to a local mom’s group for help. And that’s when my whole outlook on back-to-school began to change.

The response was incredible. Within hours, my car was brimming with generous donations of books for my classroom library. After a quick search on VarageSale and a few pick-ups later, my once-empty toy bins were filled with affordable, quality-made building sets, Lego, board games, and puzzles.

As I was heading out for one final trip to collect the last remaining odds and ends from my vehicle, I noticed two middle schoolers playing on the school’s playground with their dad. Looking bored as they dangled from the monkey bars, they glanced over repeatedly as I juggled and bobbled bins unsuccessfully on my return to the classroom. Within moments, they were at my side, each taking a box, and accompanying me in the school. They lingered inside afterward, bashfully asking if there was anything else they could do to help. With the permission of their dad, I put them to work, painting lamps to match the colour scheme of the room and helping me align motivational posters on my wall. For about an hour, we listened to music together and worked while they told me stories of their experiences at the school.

Not long after they left, my sister surprised me with a beautiful antique, hand-restored chair for carpet time, which I love more than anything in my classroom.

What had begun as a weekend fraught with anxiety and resistance to inevitable change, was transformed by the genuine kindness of strangers, my new community, and those that I love.  No matter what the future looks like, it’s always nice to know that there are people looking out for you. And, I am so excited for this new year!

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The beautiful antique chair restored by my lovely sister for carpet time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

E 1: The One Thing this Principal Did Daily to Transform the Most Violent and Dangerous School in Philadelphia

3821f3728e0b755c7b9aea2e69cc093eca41abe1_2880x1620The One Thing this Principal Did Daily to Transform the Most Violent and Dangerous School in Philadelphia

Linda Cliatt Wayman-Podcast Interview

In this episode you’ll learn the one surprising thing this incredible principal did daily to transform the most violent and dangerous school in Philadelphia into a thriving culture of learning.

This episode is sure to have you on the edge of your seat.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman spent 20 years as a special education teacher, and served as principal to three Philadelphia schools, and later served as the superintendent of schools.

Cliatt-Wayman recently started a non-profit that will support under-served students in Philidephia. She is the author of Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard: Finding Your Purpose And Putting It To Work.

For more information visit my website smallactbigimpact.com and search for episode #1 or visit http://principalwayman.com or view her TEDtalk here: https://www.ted.com/speakers/linda_cliatt_wayman.

Listen Here or Listen on iTunes

Listen on iTunes #kind #smallactbigimpact

My Visit to St. Michaels University School

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It was a scorching hot day as I pulled up to the front of the gorgeous brick building and emerged from my car, weighed down by bulky bags of art supplies and all of the equipment necessary for my impending presentation on kindness.

Greeted by the warm and friendly staff, I was directed to the spacious auditorium where over 160 school-aged ELL students from St.Michaels University School’s ISPY program would soon fill the seats.

“I should mention,” one of the staff members announced apologetically, “they’ve mistakenly been told by their houseparents that they are set to go to the museum this afternoon. There’s been a schedule mix-up. I have to warn you, some of the kids are disappointed to be stuck on campus for a presentation.”

Uh oh. My heart sank a little.

This was not the most ideal situation in which to greet a rather large bunch of middle-schoolers, let alone speak to them about kindness.

I have to admit, I started getting nervous.

I took a deep breath, “Ok. No problem. We’ll make it work!”

Within minutes, kids began filing into the room. Some of them entered silently and sleepily. Others jostled one another, still riding high from the endorphins after a lively game of lunchtime basketball.

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I began my presentation, pleasantly surprised at how quickly they gave me the floor. Suddenly, due to a technical glitch, the video I wanted to play was inaudible and wouldn’t play properly (despite several soundchecks)…

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“Uh oh, I’ve lost them!” I thought, maintaining the illusion of calm on the outside while ripples of panic lapped at my mind.

I explained that sometimes life hands us challenging situations to test out ability to overcome them. I thanked them for their patience, then completed my presentation (with the technical support of a few friendly teachers nearby).

The thing is, these kids, many of whom had been disappointed initially at the prospect of staying on campus extended me the most generous, warm reception at the end of the talk. They demonstrated their compassion and allowed me to feel comfortable within their presence, in spite of the glitches.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, these students, from China, Korea, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Iran, and Taiwan, cycled through break-out sessions where they learned about mindfulness (from the amazing Lisa Baylis from Awaken the Well-Being of Educators), calming strategies, yoga, and kindness.

In my session, we created Kindness Rocks (lesson linked) and practiced English language skills through writing encouraging notes for friends, teachers, and family members together.

About a week later, I received a letter from St.Michaels University School. When I opened it, my heart just about burst open. Within the envelope were a number of letters, cards, notes, and even a hand-drawn portrait expressing thanks.

What touched my heart the most was that some of the students articulated their initial disappointment about having to sit in lecture hall, then noted that they came away from the presentation with a changed perspective about kindness and happiness.

I love to see children realize that their kind acts enable people to feel valued and seen, that their generosity can contribute to a happier world, and that their influence within their learning community matters.

A big thank you St. Michaels University School and my friend Allison for having me in! It was truly an honour.

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Starting with…When?

Starting with…When?

These days, the concept of “finding your why” is prevalent in schools, the corporate sector and across communities thanks to Simon Sinek’s prolific book Starting with Why. As a result of this important work, people across the world have been on the quest to connect more wholeheartedly with their purpose in authentic, soulful ways at work, within their families, and through service to their communities. A wave of motivated individuals has begun actively rejecting the notion that we should simply be ‘putting in our time’ at work for the payoff of retirement, and more connected to the ideal of reigniting passion that once existed.

While “why” is an essential question that has certainly helped to guide my goals and focus on desired outcomes for success, I’ve learned recently about another important W…

…the art of finding your When.

According to Daniel Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing (2018), we all have individualized internal neurobiological clocks that determine our effectiveness throughout the day. He argues that the better we understand our when, the more effectively we can plan our work and personal lives for efficiency, relaxation, and most importantly, reduced stress.

Our Three-Part Day:

Our day is generally broken into three sections that can impact our ability to be function at work, home and in the community in an ethical, efficient, patient, fair, and unbiased manner:

1. Peak:

The peak is characterised by efficiency and general wakefulness. According to studies, the peak is when judges tend to be the most ethical and fair, surgeons and hospital staff tend to be the most accurate, and people do their most effective thinking and work. Three quarters of people experience their peak in the morning.

2. Trough:

We’ve all had that feeling of sluggish sleepiness in the afternoon, where our brains feel like syrup and it seems impossible to get anything done. This is the trough. Pink states that “afternoons are the Bermuda triangles of our days. Across many domains, the trough represents a danger zone for productivity, ethics, and health.”
Hospitals and judicial systems tend to do their worst during the mid-afternoon trough: more people die due to medical negligence on the whole and fewer paroles are granted during this time of day.

3. Rebound:

This is the period when we start to regain our energy and spirit, recovering from the low-energy of the through. If you think about this through the lens of self-regulation, this is when the body is regaining its balance after a low-energy period. For most people, this occurs in the late afternoon or evening.

Chronotype Patterns:

We all have individual circadian rhythms, but there are three generally-accepted chronotype patterns that exist in humans:

1. The Lark: Early risers, early to bed.
2. The Owl: Late risers, late to bed.
3. The Third Bird: A combination of both, but follow a fairly standard pattern.

Why Should we care?

So why does this matter? What are the implications for us at work, school, and home?
Well, the more we understand our own chronotype, the better we can manage our days and tasks for success.
Pink has also come up with some super handy tips and tricks to overcome the trough, especially when we recognize its onset coming, which I’ll address at the end. These strategies and the concept of the chronotype are particularly important for teachers to consider with intention in the educational setting.

• Three-quarters of us tend to be early risers or the third bird. This means we tend to want to do our most pressing, mental work in the morning.
• More leisurely routine tasks such as filling out forms, sorting paperwork, or cleaning can easily be done in the early afternoon during the trough. Creative work for this group tends to work best either in the morning or in the late afternoon.
• It doesn’t make sense to schedule decision-heavy or intensely academic tasks during the trough. Once you understand that, you’ll be more likely to keep those activities for your peak times.
• Cleaning or mindless sorting-type work can easily be allocated to the trough period, because it gives your brain a break from heavy cognitive overload.
• Nearly a quarter of people, however, are owls or late to rise. Their chronotype dictates that their best cognitive working time (recovery, then peak) is in the late afternoon and evening, while their trough tends present in the morning. For those people, they should keep the light cognitive work to the mornings.

Our Chronotype Can be Dictated by Age:

Interestingly, our chronotype can change throughout our lives.

• As young children, we tend to be larks (as most parents have discovered through experience) and do our best thinking and growth in the morning. Most young toddlers continue to need naps to regain their energy through the trough period.
• Teenagers, as you might have guessed, tend to take on the owl chronotype, which obviously has implications for school schedules and overall success at school.
• As we reach adulthood, most of us fall back into the lark or third bird designation.

What about when we have no choice about our schedules? How do we beat our trough?

• Pink talks about the importance of creating what he’s coined “vigilance breaks,” which are especially useful in high-stakes situations and careers in healthcare or where people’s safety is at risk. He describes these times as cognitive breaks or check ins that keep us focused on the task at hand. For example, in effective hospitals, medical staff redundantly confirm checklists aloud to one another to ensure that patients’ livelihoods are protected from the perils of human error.
• But, it’s not only careers that deal in life or death that benefit from breaks. “If we stick with a task too long, we lose sight of the goal,” Pink asserts.
• Regular breaks or time outs from cognitively exhausting work is essential to recharge and reinvigorate us at work. Studies have shown that our efficiency increases if we allow ourselves breaks every 60-90 minutes of work.

What might these breaks look like, day-to-day?

• Connecting with nature
• Mindfulness
• Exercise or move your body regularly throughout the day
• Listen to music
• Talk to a friend or connect socially for even a few minutes (in person, not virtually)
• Do a small act of kindness for someone-the endorphins and helper’s high will carry you through the trough
• Do yoga or stretching at your desk at least every hour of work
• Have a nappuccino…yep! Dan talks about the research-based benefits of coffee plus 10-20-minute nap. The caffeine doesn’t enter your system until after you’ve woken up. Win-win!

How can the concept of chronographs affect the classroom? How can we give students regular breaks in the classroom?

Take your students outside for regular breaks. There have been studies shown that student academic success improves when students are given frequent opportunities for unstructured breaks throughout their days. Some schools have provided their students with 4 recess breaks…and it works!
Employ most of the above suggestions (minus the nappuccino, perhaps!)
Try to do the cognitive heavy-lifting in the morning, and allow for more passive or creative expressions of learning to occur in the afternoon. (Of course, there’s an argument that we should flip this in middle and high-schools because most of our students will fit the owl profile).
Tell your students about the different chronographs and help them to understand themselves. They can get better at self-regulation when they understand the implications of timing, too!

 

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