Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Little Linebacker Virtual Book Tour

I am so excited to be a part of The Little Linebacker Official Virtual Book Tour!  What an awesome book to share with my students!  I first introduced the word "determination".  We talked about what that word meant and decided it went well with another word that we learned this year, "perseverance".  For first grade students, the theme of WORKING HARD and NEVER GIVING UP really seemed to resonate.  What were the things they have had to work hard to achieve:
riding a bicycle
learning math concepts
riding a skateboard
These were just a few of my fave's---especially "listening"!

My next question was "Who writes books?"  Of course they named some of their favorite authors.  I asked them if football players could write books.  Some said YES and others said they didn't think so.  I told them I was going to read them a true story about a boy who grew up to be a professional football player and that the book was written by him and Maria Dismondy (one of our favorite authors)!  They thought that was pretty cool.  They loved the part where it would say "A few years later...".  We would make predictions about what was going to happen.  What happened when the coach said they only practiced once a week?  We made predictions about how Stephen could still get some practice time in and they came up with great ideas.  We made predictions about what he could do when he scored poorly on a test.  We talked about how Stephen was a great example of using growth mindset and having grit!

Great story to read and talk about with your kids.
Watch the book trailer here:

If you would like to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment how you would use the book with your own kids or students. 
Thanks for the great story Stephen and Maria!

Friday, April 15, 2016

1, 2,3 Switch!

I love working on team building with kids.  There are so many different activities to do with them that really get them engaged and having fun.  The best part is that when they are having fun, they don't even realize that they are learning how to be a team player!
Last week I introduced our kids to the TooBeez Baton Pass.  I love using our TooBeez which you must check out if you don't know what I am talking about.  We have built with them and now we needed to do something else.  So....after doing some research, I found the Baton Pass activity.  
We first talked about leadership and what qualities a leader has.  After this I divided the kids up and gave half of them red tubes and half blue tubes and we formed a circle with the tubes alternating in colors.  Next, I told the kids that the tubes needed to be passed around the circle but they could only touch the tube with their right hand, so the lefty got put behind their back or in a pocket.  At first it was total failure.  Everyone was dropping the batons and talking at the same time.  CHAOS had erupted.  So, I decided to stop and ask them 2 questions:
What is working?
What is not working?
This seemed to help.  They came up with a plan and things slowly got better.  Unfortunately our 30 minutes came to an end rather quickly, which meant putting off our hope for success to next week.
Well, today was next week and we had some success.  Each of the 3 sections were able to get the batons passed 4 consecutive moves without dropping.  AWESOME SAUCE!!!!

The best part was some of the comments I heard:
We can do this!  We have a growth mindset!!!
Let's work as hard as the Beatles!
( I got a real chuckle out of this one!)
Focus People!

I love to have kids up and moving when we are doing activities.  Can't wait until we try out next TooBeez activity.  My suggestion is if you don't have the funds for TooBeez to get some PVC pipe and make your own batons.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

All Good Things!

Today was the LAST day for the knee scooter!  I was so excited!  I started the day at the elementary visiting our 3rd grade classes with advocates from the Family Crisis Center.  They spoke about teasing and bullying and did a great job connecting with the kiddos.  I actually had to "scoot" out a few minutes early to get to my 7-week appointment for my foot.  I have been sporting around on this knee scooter for 3 weeks which has gotten me where I am going much quicker than crutches.  The kids have loved it!  I have had many offers to take it for a ride.  We thought about turning it into a fundraiser for $1 a ride but opted out...always liability!
I loved one little gal from pre-school who seemed very intrigued with my scooter.  She would smile and just about drool looking at it.  She would tell me every day (and I mean that!) how much she wanted a scooter like mine.  My sister is actually her teacher and I suggested we let her go for a ride.  I was told NO, but being the mischievous person I am at times, I decided I couldn't stand it any longer.  I offered her the opportunity to ride it today.  WOW!  You should have seen those eyes light  up! When I told her she could take it for a ride.  It was PRICELESS!!!  The associates from her room were in on it with me and got her started.  I hope you enjoy the video that I had to share: video

I really think if I hadn't rented it, I would have given it to her!  I'm going to miss her telling me, "I think tomorrow I will get one!"

I must be easily entertained or excited.  I have to admit I have experienced more feelings than are talked about it the recent movie "Inside Out" through this whole 'foot ordeal'.  I really had to practice what I preach!  Growth Mindset was not always easy.  I have felt:
 pain--literally, but it wasn't horrible!
boredom--sitting around in a recliner with your foot up isn't all it is cracked up to be 
frustration--losing some independence
 hope--when I could see improvement 
gratitude--for all the people who prayed for me and took care of me
anxiety--about stepping on my foot after 3 months of not being able to
excitement---TOTALLY felt this today!
I don't think the woman in the waiting room at the doctor had a hard time telling I was excited today when I WALKED OUT of the exam room WITHOUT CRUTCHES OR A SCOOTER!
As I sit here now I also think about things I was able to accomplish that I had on my "to do" list --- things I could do from a sitting position.  Like reading books, staying on top of my Bible study, sending cards or notes to people, Pinterest, and getting my TpT store open.
So, it wasn't so bad after all.  I still need to wear the fashionable boot on my foot but I get to wean myself off of that also.
Life is good---don't ever doubt it.
My mindset has improved, no longer fixed!
I guess the saying is really true,
And guess what?  I can actually see the light at the end of this tunnel.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Kind Encouragement: Priceless!

Today ended my first week back at school as my foot recovery continues.  I did half days and reconnected with my elementary kiddos!  It was so good to see every single one of them during the week as I visited each classroom for a counseling lesson.  I also had some referrals and started 3 small groups and signed up 3 kids for individual counseling.  It is great to be needed!  AND the kids have been so concerned about how I am doing:  "How is your foot Mrs. K?", "Do you need help Mrs. K?" and on  and on.  One of my 3rd grade girls has been filling my water bottle each morning.....she reports to me like it is her job!  How kind is that!?  

And MANY cards from the kids.  What a thoughtful gesture on their part....taking the time to create a card to give me.  
Today one second grade girl brought in the card she was working on Wednesday when I went to her classroom.  She told me she wasn't finished yet when I wrapped up the lesson and was ready to leave and I told her she could just bring it down when she was finished.  So, today, she came in and dropped it off as I was visiting with someone in my office, placed it on my table quietly without interrupting and then turned around and walked out.  When I finished my conversation, I started putting away the items on my table that I had used with a small group.  I noticed the card with the colorful carefully designed front.  I picked it up quickly to read it.  Wow!  My heart was touched!  I just have to share this "keeper" as I call them...the ones that will forever be in my "stash" of cards, notes and other encouragements I have received.

This is why I do what I's all about the kids!  Love them to pieces!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Back to Work!

This was the day I have been waiting for!
After missing over half of the school days in January and every school day in February, I was beyond ready to go back to school following my 2 foot surgeries.  I have not walked on my left foot since Dec. 18 when I walked into surgery.  Things didn't go as planned and rolled into a second surgery on January 29.  I didn't exactly walk in today either---I rolled in on my knee scooter.  I was greeted by all the kids lined up outside chanting, "Mrs. K! Mrs. K! Mrs. K!"  I always tell people if they want to feel like a rock star, become an elementary school counselor!  I had to hurry in because I was actually tearing up---love those kiddos!  I will try to get a pic tomorrow!

I have been using my time to accomplish some things that had been on my school bucket list.  First was working on my Parent University videos.  I have 3 accomplished and working on the next one.  I have also been working on products to put on my TpT store, which has the same name as my blog!  My store opened on February 9 when I uploaded my first product, Character Posters.  As of today I have sold 11 of my products and given away my free products to 152 people!  WOWZA!!! Now that makes me excited!
So, to celebrate going back to work I decided to throw a sale!  If you are a teacher, counselor or anyone who wants to share my store with the educators in your life, I would really appreciate it!

Click HERE to go to Mrs. K's Good Stuff TpT store.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Parent University: Turning Words into Gold!

Have you ever tried to force someone to do something and they wouldn't budge!  
Flashback:  Sitting in church trying to get your kids to stop talking!
Oh yeah, you've been there, right?
One thing I learned from Love and Logic was using what we call Enforceable Statements.  What exactly is an enforceable statement you ask?  It is saying exactly what you are going to do in a given situation.  It must be human nature for us to tell our kids what they need to do:
clean your room
do your homework
wash your hands
be nice to your brother
eat your dinner
take out the trash
walk the dog
Okay----you get the idea.  I'm sure you have many other "commands" going through your head.  
The real truth is when we tell our kids these things, we hope they do them.
BUT....have you ever had one of those kids who says, "I don't want to." just wait forever for them to do it?
Not giving up any family secrets here....well, maybe just a little.
I will admit that "enforceable statements" is one of my favorite L & L techniques.
This takes a little practice but is very easy to catch on to.
Let's take a look at those examples from above and say them the L & L way:
Clean your room........ I take kids with clean rooms to the park (shopping if they are teens!).
Do your homework......Kids who have their homework done get to play a game.
Wash your hands....Anyone who has washed their hands are welcome at the dinner table.
Be nice to your brother.....I let kids who are nice to each other stay in this room.
Eat your dinner...Kids who clean their plate will get dessert.
Take out the trash....I take kids who have their chores done to the movie.
Walk the dog.....I charge $5 for walking the dog.

I think you are probably getting the idea, right?  Take those statements that you usually use and write them down.  Then, think of how you can rephrase it with an enforceable statement.

Here is my Parent University video to go along with this skill.

Hope you enjoy!

Let me know if there is a specific topic you would like me to address.  I will let you know if I feel I can cover that topic or will find the resources for you.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What is your story?

I had my one week check up, after surgery #2, at the podiatrist on Thursday.   My husband offered to take me but I gave him the day off because he has been such a good caretaker!  So, my sister-in-law took me.  Get two gals in a car for a one hour ride  and there isn't a quiet moment, just sayin'!  After the 10 minute appointment I suggested we go get some "real" food--no fast food this trip!  So I suggested Applebee's---easy in and easy out since I'm using a walker at the time being.

We were seated at a table and Charlie showed up as our server.  Friendly young guy who Deb and I guessed to be about 20 tops.  Charlie was very good at his job.  I saw how he was interacting with the small child at the next table---good people skills!  By the time we finished our meal and Charlie stopped by to see if we were ready for our bill, I couldn't help but ask him a question.  "Charlie, what's your story?"
Well, I got the whole story!
Charlie told how he had been a rebellious kid.  Grew up in Florida until him and his dad moved to the midwest.  His dad was a tough love parent which at the time he didn't appreciate.  Charlie made some poor choices and eventually ended up at Boys Town.  He was in a relationship and had 2 daughters.  It didn't last.  After 4 years of being sober he was able to reconnect with his daughters.  He is soon to be married and has a young son with his fiance.  Life is good right now for Charlie but he sure went through some tough times.  On our way our I asked Charlie one last question, "What church do you go to Charlie?"  He told me he was Catholic and I told him to make sure he makes attending church a priority for his family.  He told me he would and that without his dad's tough love and his faith he wouldn't be where he is today.
Wow!  What a story! didn't stop there that day.
I was waiting with my walker in the entry way for Deb to get the car and pick me up.  An elder lady came in and was waiting for someone who had just dropped her off.  Yep, you got it, I had to talk to her.  "Well hi, how are you today?"
She responded that she was doing much better.  She went on to say that she had moved to the city recently so her daughter could help take care of her.  She was feeling much better since she got her pacemaker.  
"That is so good", I responded.
She then shared how she had suffered 2 heart attacks since April.  She shared how they had lost her after the second one and had to bring her back.
"So you have been to the other side?"  I asked.
"Oh yes.  I saw angels.  They were beautiful.  And I can't even put into words how beautiful everything was that I saw."
Seriously.  This isn't something you can make up!
I told her she had an important story to share with others and she agreed.
As I got to Deb's car she asked, "Now who were you talking to?"
I told her, "You aren't even going to believe this one!"

So, what's your story?