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

TGIF: Nightmares and Compliment Circles

TGIF: Nightmares and Compliment Circles

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My whole body shuddered awake under the covers. Groggily, I heaved my it to a seated position and gently swung my legs around so that my bare feet touched the softness of the carpet beneath my bed.

It was 4:30 am and I had awoken from one of those all-too-common teacher nightmares. This delightful episode featured a non-existent colleague, who had deliberately made her way down to my classroom to inform me of my below-average teaching performance, how I needed to be doing more, and how I would never take my students to where they needed to go. Ugh!

“I knew it all along,” I can still hear her smug voice echoing in my mind, as she wagged a disapproving finger at me. “You don’t know what you’re doing, do you?”

Not good enough. Imposter. Oh boy…here it was again. At the beginning of every school year, in one form or another, that doubtful fear resurfaces. The kids won’t listen. I’ll somehow blow it with a parent. I will misunderstand a kid. I’ll lose the respect and control of the class. And, every year…somehow, despite all doubts, it all works out.

After grabbing a cup of coffee and gradually tuning back into the reality of the present moment, I started thinking: I’m an experienced teacher, now. I’ve been doing this for around 10 years. How is it possible that I can feel like this, knowing that things always have a way of working out? How many other educators, educational assistants, and principals wake up from dreams like this, gripped for a moment by the self-defeating belief that even their best efforts won’t cut it.

Then, I started thinking about my students. Surely, if I feel this way, they must, too. How many kids are confined by a crippling fear of failure or of not measuring up? How many of them, with their little brains still developing, believe in their hearts that their efforts won’t be enough? And, more importantly, how does that negative self-talk manifest? Crumpled-up papers? Silly behaviour? Grumpy sullenness? Refusal to speak in class? Overt oppositional outbursts? Yep, sounds about right!

Staring out onto their faces during Friday morning check-in, I decided to tell them about my bad dream. Of course, I didn’t dive into the details (those are somewhat irrelevant to a bunch of 6- and 7-year olds ), but I told them about my dream, nonetheless. Their little eyes grew wide with genuine surprise. The thing is, we adults forget to show them our human vulnerabilities. It seemed to surprise them that an adult could have nightmares or fears. But, what I’ve learned from every conversation I’ve had with educators, parenting experts, neuroscientists, and notable culture-shifters is that showing an appropriate amount of vulnerability builds deep, unbreakable trust. And when a child trusts you, some pretty incredible things have the potential to occur.

So, after sharing, I asked my students if they had ever had a bad dream. All of their hands shot up. Next, I asked them to share whether they had experienced nightmares during the first few days of school and nearly all of their little hands remained stretched high. We talked about their worries about the new school year, their friendships, and their struggles with learning. It was a powerful moment. We all need to be reminded that we’re normal, that we’re ok, and that we’re not alone in our experience.

Later that afternoon, for the first time ever in my career, I gathered my students in a circle on the carpet and explained that we would be starting a Friday tradition called Compliment Circles. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure it was going to work and I was feeling somewhat skeptical. After discussing the meaning of compliments, we agreed that they were nice things we say to make others feel good.

“My friends, compliments are also like mountains,” I explained as I drew a pointy, snow-capped mountain on the whiteboard.

As I drew a line near the bottom, I described that the first, superficial level of the mountain is the easiest to climb. “These compliments are usually about what you see, someone’s appearance or clothing.”

“The next level is about listening and noticing; it’s a bit of a tougher hike. You might point out how clean someone is keeping their desk area, how well they can throw a ball or how good someone is at reading,” I went on, touching the middle of the mounting with my hand. I reminded them of some compliments we had received from the custodian, the principal and the neighbouring classroom about manners, eating, and tidiness. We counting the compliments and reflected on how these had made us feel as a class.

“But, Mrs. Michael, what’s the top part of the mountain for?” one of the students interrupted. I drew a heart at the summit of the mountain: “These are the most special and challenging compliments of all to give. It can feel like rising to the top of a mountain. These are the compliments we notice with our hearts. For example, we can feel when someone is trying their best. We can feel when someone is being kind. We can feel when someone has made a special effort to support us when we’re sad.”

We discussed the rules for the exchange of a compliment (which, it turns out is similar to how we give and receive a gift) and some compliment sentence starters.

  1. Speak loudly
  2. Say their name
  3. Be respectful
  4. Be sincere (Say it like you mean it)
  5. Say “Thank You”

Then, it was time to start. I encouraged them to start at the first level of the mountain, choosing a compliment about appearance (we’d be working out way up the mountain this year).

Every child had a turn and I was heartened to see some of my quieter students compliment their classmates with pride in their eyes. Once everyone had received a compliment, I congratulated them on their first Compliment Circleand was just about to transition to the end-of-day procedure, when a last-minute hand shot up.

Nodding for her to share, she said earnestly, “Mrs. Michael, I have a compliment, but this time it’s for you…I love being in this class.”

“Oh…” I uttered, surprised and almost embarrassed by the unexpected tears springing to my eyes. Then I smiled at her, “That means so much to me. Thank you for that compliment. That really filled my bucket.”

Blinking my eyes quickly, I sent the kids on their way, a warmth spreading through my chest knowing that no matter the dreams or doubts I might have about this year, what matters most was that each student feels seen, heard, and loved in this classroom.

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.

E 4: Three Simple Ways to Beat the #1 Health Epidemic- Becoming Happier as an Educator, Parent, or Student (with Dr. Shimi Kang)

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In this episode, you’ll meet a remarkable woman who will share simple actionable tips to help your students and colleagues combat the #1 health epidemic of the 21st century, stress.

You’ll learn the surprising way our bodies react when we’re in crisis and a proven three-step approach to teach your students resiliency in the face of adversity. She’ll highlight actionable ways to instill firm, loving boundaries within the classroom while maintaining a playful sense of adaptability that fosters innovation and creativity. And finally, you’ll also discover specific and effective ways to address bullying and support youth in crisis. Hope you get as much out of the conversation that I did!
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 drshimikang.com .

Seth Godin: What is School For?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for listening!

 

Photo Credit: Brian Bloom

Back to School: Tips for Success (Part Two)

IMG_1281In this special episode you’ll learn and hear:

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

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

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

 

Back to School~Tips for Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

E 9: Hmmm? Huh? Aha! Tangible, Proven Ways to Develop Powerful Understanding of the Self, Others, and the World Part One (with Adrienne Gear)

We all want students to develop a sense of agency over their learning, but many of us simply want an easy-to-follow, laid out roadmap to do so. Back again with her wisdom, wit, and wealth of creativity, Adrienne Gear teaches us about her 3-step Inquiry-Based Powerful Understanding Model and how we can enable students from K-12 to develop a deep understanding of themselves, others, and the world around them. Be sure to catch part two of this interview for a deep dive into specific lessons around developing kindness, compassion, friendship, morality, social justice, and more!

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

For more information about the workshops she provides, visit her website.

“I am grateful every day that I am doing what I love: teaching and learning along side children and being able to share my learning journey with others. Through my books and workshops, my hope is that in some small way, I am making learning better for kids.

This blog is a place for me to share some of my lesson ideas and books I love with others, to reflect on my practice, and to explore my thinking around reading and writing.   While it is a storage place of sorts, I also see it as a sharing place – so please feel free to use any of the ideas inlcuded to help you along on your literacy learning journey.  I welcome ideas and thoughts from you too!  Enjoy!” -Adrienne Gear

She is the author of six bestselling books including, Reading Power and Writing Power, and has just completed her sixth book Powerful Understanding : Helping Students Explore, Question, and Transform Their Thinking about Themselves, Others, and the World. Find her online on her website readingpowergear.com or on social media by searching Adrienne Gear. For more information about her books, book lists, blog, resources and workshops visit for episode #9.

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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