E 17: Can You Teach Kindness and Empathy? : Actionable, Proven Tips You Can Implement in Your Class Starting Today (with Barbara Gruener)

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Some people believe that empathy is intrinsic, something you’re either born with or you’re not. Well, my guest today believes that all children have the capacity to be kind, compassionate contributors, we just have to be willing to teach them how. You’ll come away from this conversation inspired to start the 21-day kindness challenge, with a ton of easy to implement tips and strategies for the classroom, with lesson ideas, and with service-based projects to dig into with your students. Enjoy!

Currently having completed her 34th year school counselor in Friendswood, Texas, Barbara Gruener, has had the unique opportunity of growing alongside learners in every age and stage, preK through 12th. A passionate, connected educator, Barbara enjoys positively inspiring and influencing change through her high energy, engaging keynotes and interactive learning sessions. The author of the Corner on Character blog and the book, [What’s Under Your Cape?][1], Barbara firmly believes that we have the power to change the world, one kind act at a time. Influenced by the recent school shooting in in Santa Fe, just 15 miles from her home, she felt moved to take a bigger stand for kindness. She has just recently taken the leap into consulting work. When she’s not working, you can bet Barbara is knitting, baking, writing, reading, walking, gardening, napping, or spending time with her husband and their three children.

Where you can connect with Barbara:

Character Speaks Podcast 170x170bbwith Barbara Gruener

You can find her on twitter: @BarbaraGruener
On facebook: www.facebook/WhatsUnderYourCape

On pinterest (bgruener) and by reading her blog
[www.corneroncharacter.com][2]
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/bgruener/

For more information visit my website and search for episode #17.

Barb’s Blog: The Corner on Character

E 13: How to Build Resilience in Our Students: Actionable Ways to Help Students Develop Grit, Growth Mindset, and Confidence in the Face of Adversity (with Dr. Jillian Roberts)

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Have you ever found yourself puzzling over fostering resilience in our students but felt at a loss about how to get there? Well, you’re in for a treat. My remarkable guest describes through animated and relatable storytelling how to do just that by developing grit, growth mindset, and confidence within our students.

Here is her favourite quote by Goethe: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Dr. Jillian Roberts is a renowned child psychologist, author, professor and parent. She earned her PhD at age 26, became an associate professor at the University of Victoria at 32, and shortly after became the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Education. During this time, Dr. Roberts built one of Victoria, B.C.’s most successful child psychology practices.

Considered a go-to child psychology expert for journalists, Dr. Roberts’ work has appeared in the New York Times and the Toronto Sun; she is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post Canada, the CBC and Global News. Her best-selling series of children’s books was released in 2016 to international acclaim. In early 2017, Dr. Roberts co-founded Family Sparks to offer families a supportive, resource-rich community to help them navigate our increasingly complicated world.
For more information visit my website and search for episode # 13.

http://www.drjillianroberts.com

https://familysparks.com

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.

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 .