Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Story of the Chinese Farmer | KarmaTube

I came across this story today while I am sitting with my foot propped up.  Yesterday I had surgery on my foot to remove a bunion.  I actually had been very anxious to have it taken care of as I was down to about 3 pairs of shoes which I could wear comfortable---and of course, not of them were cuties!
When this story came through on "Daily Good: News that Inspires" I really felt it was worthy to share.  I haven't posted lately and need to get back to this.  I hope you all enjoy the story below by clicking on the title:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Growth Mindset in ACTION---Alex Style!

When tragic life changing things happen, it can be very easy to give up.  Excuses for not continuing toward our goals can creep into our lives and take over.  When this happens, the following happens:
we hurt ourselves,
we limit ourselves,
we cheat ourselves,
we deny ourselves,
we cripple ourselves.

Alex Watters is a young man who experienced a life changing event.  The time of his life was the beginning of his freshman year in college.  He was home for the weekend and visiting friends.  After a fun evening of sitting around the bonfire by the lake, some of his friends went in the house to change out of their swimsuits.  Alex and the younger brother of one of his friends went on to play a little frisbee and headed out onto  the dock.  All of a sudden a gust of wind came up and took his cap right off his head and into the lake.  Alex quickly whipped off his t-shirt to dive in, thinking the water was deep enough.  Unfortunately, it was 18 inches deep.  He shared with the students, "I thought this was it.  I kept thinking I had 18 good years to be thankful for."  That wasn't the end that day for Alex.  It was a new beginning.  Not what he had expected.  He share with the kids that his motto is "Keep Moving Forward"!  He shared how having a GROWTH MINDSET has helped him achieve so many things in life from working for the president to helping college freshman in his current job as a freshman advisor at Morningside College.  The video below has a little of what Alex shared.  Alex shared with our middle school students this week and they are still talking about him.  He made an impact.  I would rate him in my top 3 assembly speakers I have heard during my school career.

We all have challenges and events that change what we may have had planned for our lives.  It could be a health issue or something else beyond our control.  I am sure we can all think of people we have encountered who persevered in the wake of change.  That is what Growth Mindset is all about.
Thanks Alex!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Growth Mindset Experiment--part 2

My Growth Mindset Experiment!

I chose archery as my skill to try to improve.  My kids and husband started archery about 5 years ago.  They have bugged me, literally, to give it a try.  Two years ago I decided to give it a whirl.  So, I signed up for the outdoor summer JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program---adults can sign up for this too.  My family all shoots compound bows.  This is what a compound bow looks like:

So I thought I would try a recurve bow--mainly because I think they are pretty cool looking--good reason, huh?!  Or maybe because of the movie, The Hunger Games?  Here is a picture of Katniss Everdeen from the movie shooting her recurve bow.

Shooting a recurve is H.A.R.D.!!!!!  I felt frustration, pain (when the string hit my arm), embarrassed, frustration, confused, excited the one time I hit the target, tired (of looking in the grass for my lost arrows), and FRUSTRATION!!!!  I wanted to quit but I couldn't because we have told our kids they can't quit when they start something---give it a good try first---quitting partway through the summer season was not allowed!  So, I had to toughen up and stick with it.  AND I did, but I did not enjoy it.  I tried, believe me, I really did.  Deciding to give archery another try was kind of difficult but I thought that it would give this growth mindset thing a true test. has it been going?  Well, I actually think pretty well!
Here is the assignment I gave my students.  I am doing it as well.  The students of course had to fill in their own "thing" they wanted to get better at.

My Plan
by Mrs. K.
The one thing I would like to get better at is archery.

I am going to do the following things to get better at it:

1.practice 4 times or more a week.

2. ask experienced archers to critique my shooting form. experienced archers as they shoot.

4.listen to instruction during an archery class. archery videos on how to improve shooting.

I will measure my “growth” by charting my scores:
(Scoring is 12 rounds of 5 arrows each. Points are 5-1, with an X being 6)







280280 280












April  4     5 6      7      8 9     13   14   15   16

The cool thing is I can't wait to practice!  Last night when I was practicing, I shot 4 arrows right on the X!  Wow!  I was so pumped and the pressure was on as I stuck my last arrow for that round into the bow.  I was so focused and was holding it a bit too long and my arm started to shake.  So...I thought I would let down my draw, give my arm a rest and re-draw.  It didn't work out like I planned.  When I let down the arrow fired and hit the wall below the target.  Well, that was a big "0" for points and yes, I was BUMBED!!!  But then I thought: "Hey, I have never had 4 X's in one round and I just did!"  I so easily could have fallen right into fixed mindset!

The question I asked my students today in 6th grade was this:
What can you do now that you couldn’t do before? How do you know?
I told them they had to think of something they can do now that they couldn't do at the beginning of this school year (which took out walking and riding a bike right away).
Great answers from them and great discussion too!
Think about question and answer it for yourself.  When you get done answering that one, then answer this one from Steven Jobs:
"If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do with my life?"
I think I'm going to plaster these on my wall!  Seriously! is your mindset doing today?
Be sure to stop back and check out some more on Growth Mindset and some great interviews I plan to do with my students.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Chocolate Milk, Por Favor Official Book Trailer by Maria Dismondy

Welcome to Mrs. K's Good Stuff!  AND do I have something good to share with you today!  Author Maria Dismondy has been at it again and brought to us yet another one of her awesome books that teach kids all about good character.   Chocolate Milk, Por Favor! Celebrating Diversity with Empathy is a great read for kids of all ages and a great reminder for adults too.  Who would ever think that chocolate milk would be the thing that helps play a role in bringing friends together.  

I shared Maria's book with my students at the elementary and they loved it.  My Spanish speaking kiddos thought it was pretty cool that we learned to say something in "their language".  The kids were very quick to point out that leaving someone out because they were different from the others was not being a good friend.   We talked about putting ourselves in someone else's shoes and how we would feel---it's all about empathy.  When I asked the kids in preschool what they thought about the story, they all gave the 2 Thumbs Up! signal!  One little girl even said, "I give it 10 Thumbs Up!" as she held up all 10 fingers!  LOVE IT!!!

You can check out Maria's book trailer below:

Be sure to stop by Maria's website to find the link for a readers guide for this book (actually, all of her books have readers guides, so be sure to check them all out).  It is packed full of activities for all ages.  If you are NOT a teacher and reading this page, be sure to share this information with your child's teacher or school counselor!  
I want to thank Maria for stopping by today with her new book and giving us a chance for us to talk about diversity and empathy.  

If you would like a chance to win a copy of 
Chocolate Milk, Por Favor! ,
leave a comment below on why you think it is important to teach both diversity and empathy to children.  Thanks for stopping by.  Now I'm off to have a glass of leche chocolate, por favor and gracias!

More Maria Info:

Other great books by Maria include:
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun teaches children to respect each other's differences while dealing with adversity with self-confidence and courage.

The Juice Box Bully, co-written by Bob Sornson and Maria, shows children that strength can come in numbers.  By encouraging community in Mr. Peltzer’s classroom, children help a new student learn the ropes.

Pink Tiara Cookies for Three focuses on a subtle type of bullying. When teasing happens between friends, especially a group of three friends.

The Potato Chip Champ is all about empathy. Empathy is what Maria believes to be the cure for our bullying epidemic. 

Spoonful of Sweetness is her first baby board book. It's a step Maria has taken towards early intervention, in addition to speaking to children about empathy. This book is for children from birth to preschool, and is also available as a digital app.

Spaghetti In A Hot Dog Bun (The Children's Musical!) is now onstage and touring to schools and theaters across the country.

I have ALL of Maria's books!  They are a great resource for this school counselor.  Check them out at Amazon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Growth Mindset Experiment-part 1

I have been so busy teaching my students about growth mindset and I am extremely excited about it!  The best part are they!  They remember the words and terminology that I have been teaching them.  In 2nd grade I shared the story of the rabbit who wanted to enter the swimming race, the flying race and the running race.  He always would win the running race because, of course, rabbits run fast.  He thought if he could win all 3 races that he would be good and it would make him a good person.  I'm sure you can predict the rest of this story:  he got washed a shore when his floaty got a hole in it during the swimming race, he went down after flapping the wings he had attached to himself during the flying race and ended up in the top of a tree.  When the running race was going to start all the other animals looked for him because he was such a fast runner but he was stuck in the tree.  They got him out of the tree and he was too bruised and cut up to run so he got to be the best cheerer for everyone.  He learned it isn't about being the best at everything, it's about being the best YOU!

My 5th grade class is learning also about growth mindset.  We watched some inspirational videos in the last couple of days about the difference between fixed mindset and growth mindset.  The favorite video for fixed mindset was The Escalator.

We also talked about failing and the importance of failing at something.  When we fail at something, we learn how NOT to do something.  Sometimes we learn that over and over for the same thing.  We enjoyed the video on Famous Failures.  I paused before they said who each person was and the kids did a pretty good job of guessing who they were telling about.

Today we talked about choosing something that we would like to improve on.  Of course, the list should be endless because we can always improve on things we do.  I have challenged the students in my 5th/6th Exploratory class to choose one thing they want to get better at.  They need to identify what their steps are to improve and how they are going to measure their growth.  We talked about the fact that their success will probably go up and down because that is normal, but it will have a trend that goes up (hopefully)!

Since I challenged my students to try to improve at something, I thought it was only fair if I chose something and did the same thing.  I will share my story and how I am doing in my next blog entry.  I hope you stay, off to practice!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What is your MINDSET?

This week we continued learning about MINDSET---if you aren't familiar with this, then you will want to get familiar with it.  ASCA (American School Counselor Association) has standards for Growth Mindset which really justifies me teaching it!
Okay---so here it is ...
I went to a staff professional development session on Mindset presented by Trevor Ragan.  I had heard about him and what he teaches so I begged my principal to let me go and he said YES!!!  (He knew I would come back all pumped up!)  Before I went I listened to the podcasts and blog entries from Trevor's site, Train Ugly (doesn't the name just make you curious?).  He shares research he has done as well as uses other great mindset leaders such as Carol Dweck and Seth Godin (you will find him on Trevor's blog).  I came racing back to school and started searching for something to put on the bulletin board in my hall that would spark the kids interest and make them curious and it did.  I found this great set on TpT that I used as part of my lesson---(okay, we crowded the hallway walk area for a bit but it just seemed to draw others in--it was great!).  I would like to give Traci Brown a huge shout out for her great creation on this---you can find it here and see it below.

Last week we talked about the different parts of the brain.  We used the book The Fantastic Elastic Brain  by JoAnn Deak and the kids LOVED it!  AND I loved the discussion we had about it!  I think my favorite was , "How does the brain do all this stuff?"  Great question!

This week we discussed the bulletin board and what fixed mindset and growth mindset is.  We talked about examples of each and things we see and hear at school that would show both.  This week we read the book The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires....I told the kids her name should be Ashley INSpires because her book really inspired me!  The could see examples of not giving up in the book and growth mindset.  The character in the book also gets to a point where she is so frustrated that she says, "I quit!".  I actually heard gasps from my students when I read that part---it was great!

 I closed the book and said, "The End!"----eyes got big and someone said, "NO WAY!  She can't quit!"  So I told them she decided to practice growth mindset and that sometimes that takes some help from others.  We finished the book and talked about how we have others who encourage us---teachers, parents and friends!  Next week we will dive into mindset even more!  I can't wait!
I hope you keep following to see what all we do.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

R.A.K. from your kids!

Yesterday, March 4, my sweet mother would have turned 80 years old.  I can't help but wonder about the celebrating we would have done with her.  I can imagine just how she would have looked, sweet smile and dark hair (great friends with her hair stylist).  She left us unexpectedly at the age of 65, before her time should have been up (in many minds).  The one thing I will say is she "packed it in" during those 65 years.  She taught kindergarten and loved it.  We always wished she would have written a book with all those stories she came home with.  She also started Pooh Corner Preschool when a mom in town asked her if she would after the school went to half day kindergarten.  She instilled a love of reading in all of us 6 kids---and the many grandkids who followed.  She baked cutout cookies for us to frost, made sure our birthdays were celebrated in style, helped us fill May Baskets every year to deliver to classmates and neighbors, and the list goes on.
We have done a variety of things to celebrate mom's birthday since she passed.  This year my 'baby' sister texted all of us kids and challenged us to 80 Random Acts of Kindness in honor of mom's birthday.  WOW!  80! And at least one act had to involve giving someone an apple (which mom collected).  That meant I had to act quickly! is what I came up with:
*quick run to the grocery store and picked up 10 apples to hand out to random people during the day
*paid for 3 people's breakfast who were behind me and the convenience store when I was grabbing my cup of coffee
*took a meal over to a family
*gave a co-worker a yogurt to have for a snack
*took bus duty for our band teacher who had an extra  band practice (4 degrees out and windy!)
*shared my fruit at lunch
*carried my daughter's bow in from the car after archery practice
*picked up supper for my husband and daughter while they were practicing archery so we wouldn't be late for church activities
*bought my dog an new spikey ball toy
*shared some counselor forms with a new counselor
*mailed notes to a couple of friends to encourage and thank them
*tidied up the information table at the archery club
*hung up clothes that had fallen on the floor of the clearance rack at Shopko
*money on my college daughter's bank account without being asked for it!
*ordered donuts for the last practice of 7th and 8th grade Jazz Band
*candies in mailboxes of co-workers
*notes on kids lockers encouraging growth mindset
*posters on the bathroom stall doors encouraging good character

Can't wait to see what else my day brings!  I know one thing, it sure is makes my day to do these Random Acts of Kindness!