Gift #7: The Essence of Empathy

Do you feel… Do you feel like we do?

-Peter Frampton

I recently read a blog post directed towards administrators of schools and other people in charge of hiring new employees. There, it was claimed that it’s too often the case that we hire applicants based on the right answers rather than truly finding the right people.  When hiring a single teacher can really be a 3 million dollar decision over the course of a 30 year career, it’s clear that we should be taking due diligence in hiring the right people. One of the most important qualities that leads to being a “right people” person, in my humble opinion, is emotional intelligence. A person’s EQ, in many aspects, is more important than an IQ. Additionally, emotional intelligence is far more malleable and able to be influenced by “nurture” versus “nature”. And so, as we search for one last gift to give our students, the gift of understanding feelings seems like a necessary choice.

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Kindness Keeps the World Afloat

Gift #5 – Happiness is Helping Others

My first principal, Mrs. Linda Kehm, of Lakeside Elementary School, was best known to the her elementary students as having coined the phrase, “Kindness Counts”. My younger brother even won an award for his public displays of kindness after I had moved on to the middle school. While I was never bestowed with this prestigious honor, the importance of kindness stuck with me, permanently ingrained, and as a teacher I realize how important it is to emphasize its power to students as early and often as you can.

If you’ve been following along with our recent series, The Seven Greatest Gifts You Can Give Your Students, you might be wondering where to begin, or how to fit it all in to our already over-crowded plates. For us, the inspiration and messaging of our classroom culture of kindness all started with one video. That video was the seed that we planted in the beginning and watched grow all year. Check it out! Watch as the camera tracks a single act of kindness as it’s passed from one individual to the next and (spoiler alert) manages to “boomerang” back to the person who set it into motion. Continue reading “Kindness Keeps the World Afloat”

Developing An Attitude of Gratitude

The Seven Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students – Gift #3

We’ve blogged before about the importance of living mindfully, for teachers and students alike. Mindfulness in itself is a gift that we must strive to give to our students. We have to let them know that there’s a fulfilling way to live their lives that leads to contentment. Bringing a sense of peace, calm, and serenity to the classroom can pave the way for a culture of safety, curiosity, and deep learning. In this post, we’ll remind you of all the reasons you want to teach your students to be present in the moment, but we’ll also add another important dimension to this philosophy: cultivating the attitude of gratitude in your students and yourself.

Previously, Zach wrote about one simple word that can change one’s life: YET. There’s another magical word that our classroom reveres… and it isn’t “please” or “thank you”. The word that we put up on a pedestal (right next to yet) is: GET. Yes, the title of this blog post is an in-line rhyme. And yes, YET rhymes with GET… but the way in which this word can change the culture of your classroom is very different and equally powerful. Whereas YET can turn a fixed mindset into a growth mindset, GET plants the seeds of gratitude in the hearts and minds of our kids.

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The Isolation of School versus the Sociality of Learning: #IMMOOCB1

This week, we are going to try a little something different for Innovator’s Mindset blog challenge. We’re going to write 3 blog posts in short order, but strive to keep them under 200 words each.

For the sake of brevity, we’ll focus on one particular contrast between the idea of traditional schooling versus learning.

SCHOOL often isolates,

whereas LEARNING is social.

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Mind Full or Mindful?

8685087570_9f83cfde59_zEveryone is talking about being mindful these days. If you haven’t been approached at the “water cooler” by a colleague spouting the benefits of zen living, mailed a New York Times article cut-out by your mother about mindfulness, or seen a magazine cover showing a meditating man or woman while checking out at the grocery store, you must be living under a rock! The best part is that being mindful does not mean you have to sit cross legged meditating on the floor as depicted by Hollywood and/or the media… You can be mindful while laying in bed, sitting in a chair, walking, or in virtually anything you do!

So, with that in mind, we bring to you our own innovative spin on this positive mental health trend with this blog post about mindfulness. Our hope is that this reading will come at the perfect time for those of you who feel like we do – in that our brains might explode at any second if we have one more thing added to our plates. If anyone needs and deserves a mindful stress break, we know it’s teachers! So, sit back, relax, clear your mind, and allow yourself the time to consider welcoming Mindfulness into your life.
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