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.

 

Marble-Jar Trust (Brené Brown)

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

When starting up the year, I often refer to Dr. Brené Brown’s brilliant concept of the Marble Jar. Imagine that the trust in each of the relationships in your life is represented by a marble jar. At it’s core, Brené (yes, like most humans my age, I would like to imagine that we are on a first-name basis), explains that trust is built in the micro-moments, the seemingly insignificant moments of interaction. 

Relationships are build on trust. We can deposit marbles and build up our sense of trust or withdraw them and degrade that sense of trust through our interactions. When someone is able to make more deposits than withdrawals, generally, we trust them.

Trust can be deposited through:

  • asking for help,
  • receiving the generosity of others,
  • giving without recompense,
  • contributing constructive and helpful feedback,
  • designating and maintaining clear boundaries,
  • being capable and reliable,
  • owning your sh*t, being a vault,
  • choosing courage over comfort,
  • practicing non-judgement,
  • standing up for someone through integrity
  • and creating a generous narrative about others

She also makes a note about not confusing real trust for counterfeit trust. Real trust isn’t always easy to build. Integrity is a big part of creating a sense of trust. Being a chameleon, someone who changes depending on the surrounding political and social environment does not elicit a sense of trust from people. Gossiping is the worst kind of counterfeit trust, because as much as it hot-wires fake connection, it erodes the deep sense of trust within a relationship (and can often ripple outward to the climate at work or school).

#smallactbigimpact #kindsight101

 

 

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

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.

 

Healthy Heartfelt Habits for the Covid Crisis (With Dr.Shimi Kang)

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

Child psychologist, Dr. Shimi Kang (author of The Tech Solution and The Dolphin Parent) explains how to navigate this uncertain times during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We cover a lot of ground and here are a few ideas she shares with us:

-the three mindsets to avoid in order to ward off post-traumatic-stress disorder

– learning how to bring out contribution in those around you and how kindness is a psychological superfood

– the three things to keep in mind as you talk to kids about this pandemic

– how you can navigate the difficult feelings associated with grief

– how tech isn’t all bad: the three c’s of healthy tech that will alleviate the guilt you might feel as you rely on tech to work from home

Dr. Shimi Kang

Dr. Shimi Kang is an award-winning, Harvard-trained doctor, researcher, media expert, writer, and keynote speaker who specializes in how the mind works. She provides science-based solutions for innovation, leadership, wellness, and resilience. Her expertise lies in the neuroscience of mental health, addiction, motivation, relationships, and optimal performance. Dr. Kang has spent over 20 years researching, treating, and working with people from all walks of life.

Dr. Kang is the author of The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids (Penguin Random House 2014) and The Self Motivated Kid (Penguin Tarcher 2015). The Dolphin Parent is a #1 National Bestseller and The Self-Motivated Kid won the 2015 US News International Book Award in the Parenting and Family Category. Her books have been released in 12 countries around the world and her newest title, The Tech Solution, will be available in August 2020!

 

 

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! 

 

Ep. 82/83 The Power of Visuals, Child Honouring, and the Gratitude Jar (With Kristin Wiens)

 

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

Have you ever wondered which small shifts in your classroom practice could make the most impact?

In Part One of my interview with Inclusion Coach, Kristin Wiens, we discuss the transformative and creative use of visuals in the classroom including specific tips and tricks for amping up your effectiveness in the classroom.

We talk about what an inclusion coach’s role involves and what educators need more than ever.

We touch on the fact that EA’s are the unsung heroes in education and Kristin’s Educational Assistant ground-breaking training program.

Finally, we explore the importance of developing unconditional  positive regard for those we serve in the classroom and community, but most importantly how to foster self-compassion for ourselves.

Kristin is the Special Education Inclusion Coach at School District 62 in Victoria, B.C. Canada. Passionate about Inclusion, Visuals, UDL, Self-Reg, Mindfulness, and Creativity. She is also a Speaker & Author of My Gratitude Jar.

In our second part of the interview, we focus on her work with activist and musician, Raffi, talk about the 9 principles of child-honouring, explore her collaborative online course with Raffi, and highlight her beautiful book, The Gratitude Jar. You won’t want to miss that conversation!

Please see the show notes for links to her amazing free visuals and gratitude Jar Reading  at northstarpaths.com. You can follow Kristin on twitter at kwiens62 or on Instagram @kristin.weins .

North Star Paths http://northstarpaths.com/

The Gratitude Jar Book : http://northstarpaths.com/childrens-books/

Twitter: @kwiens62

Instagram: kristin.wiens

 

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

Ep. 81: A Self-Compassion Break (With Lisa Baylis)

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

We talk about self-care non-stop these days, but certainly, there has to be more to it than bubble baths and pedicures.

This is the most delicious 6 minute mediation! Everyone needs this episode! #kindsight 101 #smallactbigimpact #podcast

Lisa Baylis has been sharing wellbeing strategies for the last 20 years. A natural born connector with an innate ability to make people feel valued and heard, she is an instructor, a counsellor, a facilitator, and a mother. Lisa is also the creator of the AWE Method — Awakening the Wellbeing for Educators — which merges self-care, mindfulness, and self-compassion.
Lisa has a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. She has taught internationally and locally. Much of her vast teaching experience was gained in classrooms across British Columbia — from Fort St. John to the Comox Valley. Currently, she is a high school counsellor in Victoria and a point person for positive education and mindfulness within the Greater Victoria School District.
Trained by mindful self-compassion pioneers Chris Germer and Kristin Neff, Lisa is also a trained Mindful Self-Compassion teacher. She teaches an eight-week MSC curriculum in Victoria, while also running one-day AWE retreats. No matter the setting — classroom, counselling session, or teacher development — Lisa incorporates concepts of positive psychology, self-compassion, and mindfulness.
Check out her blog for ideas on how to incorporate aspects of mindfulness, and positive education into your classroom and the new curriculum.
Lisa is happy to connect! Feel free to contact her here.