E 16: So, You Want to Start your Own School? (with Tom Hudock)

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You are in for a real treat! I am here with Tom Hudock, a successful entrepreneur, a non-profit founder, a father, and business advisor. He is the co-founder of Rethink Thinking, a non-profit making change in the world of education and he has also founded Arc Academy school based on the inquiry-based learning model.

You can find him @tomhudock on twitter and Instagram and by searching Tom Hudock on facebook or teach Arc Academy to get connected on social media.

In this conversation, we discuss :

-Actionable ways to rethink education in this uncertain world

-The key to keeping students engaged and passionate about their own learning

-How to overcome challenges and fear of failure whether you’re starting a new business or helping students to adopt a growth mindset

-The importance of cultivating environments that sustain and support mental wellness

Hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!

A message from ARC Academy School:

“We are bringing inquiry-based, interdisciplinary learning to our community but what does this mean? Learn how we see the differences or download the chart to read at your convenience (on their website)

Opening a progressive inquiry middle school takes a very committed community, and becoming a part of the family also has its privileges. Each Founding Family instantly celebrated the victory of ensuring this type of independent school education was available for their child. Our hearts go out to these families with the utmost gratitude.”

To find out more or register for ARC click here.

About Tom Hudock:

I’ve been fortunate to have amazing people be a part of my life – it has helped me pursue my passions. I’ve started a couple companies, latest passion is Reinfluence Marketing – http://reinfluenceinc.com, and have worked with people in various industries on business transformation, sales/marketing, and startup initiatives. My diverse background has given me a unique perspective on business and Making It Happen (MIH).

Entrepreneurship is my #2 passion (family comes first). I enjoy talking about business and sharing stories but I really want to make successful businesses, whether they be mine or helping others create an environment for success.

Currently, my focus is on building a branding/marketing business. I’m putting everything I can into businesses that need strategy and execution with the latest marketing methods. We help build brands with compelling advertising.

In the past, I’ve consulted for executives, business teams and individuals looking for ways of solving their problematic situation. Whether it was rescuing a failing project or helping take a new initiative to implementation, I have a proven track record for delivering on customer expectations. I’ve delivered $25 million dollar business/technology projects to smaller management consulting gigs to mentoring startups.

Specialties: Marketing and Branding
Business Development, Project Management, Business Analysis
Performance Management and Business Intelligence

 

E 15: Bomb-Diffusal, A North Pole Exploration, and One War Hero’s Courageous Heart: Learning How To Teach Kids with Trauma and PTSD (with Bruno Guevremont)

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With Remembrance Day just around the corner, it’s so important to take a moment and hear the stories of our brave service-people and that we reach out to support them in any way we can.

Ever wonder what an ex-bomb-disposal war vet and paratrooper could teach you about being a better educator? You’re in for a real treat! I’d like to wager that after this conversation, you’ll see your students in a whole new light. In this episode we explore a number of important topics including challenging your assumptions about people, ways to challenge yourself, how nature and contribution can make you happier, and the a 140k multiple day hike across the North Pole helped this war vet overcome the devastating PTSD symptoms of trauma.

“I SPENT 15 YEARS WITH THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY, serving two tours in Afghanistan. I was trained as a Weapons Specialist, Paratrooper, Navy Diver, and spent a good portion of my military career as a member of a Canadian Counter Improvised Explosive Disposal Team.
I am also the only member of the Canadian Forces to ever dismantle an explosive vest off a live suicide bomber.
After returning home from my second tour in Afghanistan, I couldn’t function like a normal member of society. I was on high alert at all times, uncomfortable around others, and spiraling in the depths of my own mind.

I remember staring at my nightstand, and wishing there was a handgun inside to stop the pain. And then I’d get out of bed, get dressed and head out. This is how I started my day. I’d drive to the base and dream of crashing my car into the big rock face that I passed on the way. There were car crash casualties there all the time, so nobody would know I did it on purpose. My family would get the insurance money and this constant pain would end.

Around this same time, I was diagnosed with PTSD and medically released from the Canadian Armed Forces. I could’ve believed I was broken and gave up right there, but then I would think of my little guy growing up without a dad.
THANK GOD FOR MY LITTLE GUY.
IF IT WEREN’T FOR HIM, I WOULDN’T BE HERE TODAY HELPING OTHERS.I WENT ON A QUEST, A ONE MAN MISSION TO FIND A CURE.

This shit wasn’t about me anymore. It was all for my little guy. I forced myself to find ways to recover. But the first step was taking responsibility and accepting that I signed up for this. I was a warrior.

I dropped my ego and asked for help.
I chased my passions and opened my own gym.
I completed an expedition in the North Pole.
I led Team Canada in the Invictus Games.
I summited Mount Kilimanjaro.
I stepped back into the roles I was meant for – survivor, warrior, leader.

I became a voice for my brothers and sisters who serve.Today, I’m building a community, bringing those who serve together to conquer PTSD. I’m also fortunate to be able to help thousands of people transform their lives and businesses – from CEOs and influencers to athletes and celebrities (not to mention, some of the biggest veterans and charity organizations in Canada).

WHETHER YOU ARE A SERVICE MEMBER LOOKING TO RECLAIM YOUR WARRIOR SPIRIT, OR A BUSINESS LOOKING TO BOOST PERFORMANCE, FEEL FREE TO REACH OUT.”

For more information visit my podcast and search for episode #15.

https://www.brunoguevremont.com/
Facebook – @brunoguevremont
Linkedin – Bruno Guevremont
Twitter – @Be_Redemption
Instagram – @Bruno_Guevremont

https://www.brunoguevremont.com/

An Interview with Peter H. Reynolds: How to Inspire the Happy Dreamers in your Class

“Creative thinking is the fuel for getting things going. Dreaming about the project is a huge part of the process. The actual ‘doing’ requires following through on the dream, but the dream is the rough sketch. I encourage people to ponder and conjure the vision, but eventually I’ll nudge you to “prove your groove.” Don’t just say you are a writer… Write. Don’t just dream about making a film… Pick up the camera and go!”

-Peter H. Reynolds

Have you ever wondered how to empower the dreamers in your life to be the fullest expressions of themselves? To take audacious leaps? To connect with their passion in a meaningful way to serve the world?IMG_3148

In this episode, you’ll learn the 4 questions you can ask to connect students with their purpose, the top two ways anyone can generate new and creative ideas, and the most important question everyone should be asking themselves in order to live a life of joyful intention. I am thrilled about this remarkable interview, with the best-selling, award-winning author, Peter H. Reynolds. Join us as we deep-dive into creativity, dreaming, and joyful expression.IMG_3151

Creativity champion, Peter H. Reynolds, is a Canadian-born, NY Times best-selling author & illustrator Published in over 25 languages.

Peter’s books The Dot, Ish, The Word Collector, and Happy Dreamer, among many others, inspire children and “grown up children” with his messages about authentic learning, creativity, bravery, empathy, and courageous self-expression.

Peter also illustrated the best selling I am Yoga, I am Peace, I am Human (which was recently a #1 NYT Best selling picture book!), and The Water Princess with Susan Verde, as well as, the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald. Peter lives in the Boston area where he founded The Blue Bunny, a family-owned and operated children’s book, toy, & creativity store.

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Peter and his twin brother Paul, launched the Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning, and Creativity (TLC). The center is a not-for-profit organization that encourages creativity and innovation in teaching and learning. Also worth checking out, whether, you are a child, a teacher, or a grown-up kid, Fable-Vision, a creative animation studio designed to helping learners find their true potential.

You can find Peter on Twitter @peterhreynolds and by visiting his website.

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Here are 15 tips to make your mark:

Tell stories. Family stories. Made-up stories. You don’t need a book to read with your children. In fact, if they see you improvise they will learn to do the same. Improv is key to creative thinking and innovation. For more ideas, click here.

Check out Peter’s blog, The Stellar Cafe. And here’s a great interview about his artist’s way.

E 12: How to Avoid Educator Burnout: Nourishing Teacher Well-Being Through Mindful Practice (with Lisa Baylis)

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There’s a way for you to avoid educator burnout and my incredibly talented friend and guest has the perfect recipe for nourishing your soul. Get inspired to fill your cup first so that you have more to give. I hope you savour this episode and message of self-compassion as much as I did!

Lisa Baylis is a high school counsellor based in Victoria, Canada and a point person for positive education and mindfulness within the district. With a Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology and over 10 years work experience provincially and internationally, Lisa practices and teaches concepts of positive psychology and mindfulness in her classroom and counselling sessions.

Outside of the school, she offers workshops that bring tools and strategies to parents and educators to help them create wellness habits for themselves first, and then their families and classrooms second, subsequently creating a culture of resiliency, self-regulation and awareness. Check out her blog lisabaylis.com for ideas on how to incorporate aspects of mindfulness, and positive education into your classroom and the new curriculum or connect with her through social media [@awakenwellbeingforeducators][1] For more information visit my website [smallactbigimpact.com][2] and search for episode # 12.

 

E10: Leaving Your “Heartprint” on the World (with Adrienne Gear)

In this episode, you’ll learn so many strategies, tools and lesson ideas for teaching integrated and meaningful learning that it’ll have you sprinting into your classroom with a recharged sense of purpose! In this conversation, Adrienne Gear explores specific ways of teaching Social Emotional Skills that will prepare our students for the future and how to use the three-step Powerful Understanding Model to do so.

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.

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 her blog.

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.

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.

 

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.