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Ten Keys to Happier Living

April 8th, 2014

I love the keys – they are so practical, yet so life-giving!

Read more here –


Gifted Resources

April 1st, 2014

I was excited to find this list of the Best Gifted Resources and Curriculum at Exquisite Minds.  And they are mostly free! 

Minimus: “The Mouse That Made Latin Cool!” Click on “Teachers’ Resources” for lesson ideas and curriculum for gifted students.

TED: Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the worldFrom the podcast publisher: “Each year, TED hosts 80 of the world’s most fascinating people: Trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses. These podcasts (also available in audio format) capture the most extraordinary presentations delivered from the TED stage. Each week, we’ll release a new talk to inspire, intrigue and stir the imagination. For best effect, plan to listen to at least three, start to finish. (They have a cumulative effect.) If you have a curious soul and an open mind, we think you’ll be hooked.”

Alcumus Art of Problem Solving:  Alcumus offers students a customized learning experience, adjusting to student performance to deliver appropriate problems and lessons. Alcumus is specifically designed to provide gifted students with a challenging curriculum appropriate to their abilities.

NASA:  Science and math lesson plans.

Math with the Rubik’s Cube: “Teaching Math With a Twist”

The Marshmallow Challenge:  Fun creative team building exercise for students.

Myths and Legends:  This is a really cool site where kids can create myths and legends, cartoon style. Good graphics and easy to use. Click on “start story creator 2″

Smithsonian Education:  Lesson plans on various subjects including the arts.

The Museum of Modern Art, NYC:  Free online activities

The Stock Market Game:  Students invest a hypothetical $100,000 in an on-line portfolio. Most of my gifted students really enjoyed this game and learned a lot.

National Geographic, Xpeditions:  The lesson plans and curriculum on this site were written by educators and have been tested in the classroom.

Find the full list here –


State of the World – Powerful Graphics

March 31st, 2014

This is just one of the many powerful graphics about the state of our world today.  Check out the others at


Great Melissa and Doug toy for girls

March 28th, 2014


I love these magnetic dolls from Melissa and Doug . Girls love to be creative , dressing the girls in different outfits and taking them on adventures. I think you could also use them as a creative writing prompt, inviting girls to write stories based on the characters. I also think you could use it as a learning tool, where girls could read to their dolls, teach there doll science, or practice flashcards with their dolls. Melissa and Doug create such great products!


Healthy Families = Healthy Kids

March 17th, 2014

Looking for some resources to get into the hands of parents that might inspire them to make healthy choices for their families.  Check out these simple ideas from the YMCA:


Favorite Read-Aloud Chapter Books

March 12th, 2014

Looking for some good books to read outloud to children?  Here is a list of Some of our favorite read-aloud chapter books from Simple Mom.  She has some super cute books on her list!


Word searches and literacy

March 10th, 2014

If you’re looking for a sneaky way to practice reading and spelling, try word searches. You can even find apps with easy word searches, if you’re kids love to learn and play with technology.



Gift from a Stranger, Gift from Above

March 5th, 2014
Our final sharing of great stories from the Caring Child Contest.  
An eye witness account from New York
City , on a cold day in December,
some years ago: A little boy,
about 10-years-old, was standing before a shoe store on the
roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering
With cold.
   A lady approached the young boy and said,
  ‘My, but you’re in such deep thought staring in that window!’
‘I was asking God to give me a pair of
shoes,’  was the boy’s reply.
   The lady took him by the hand, went into
  the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks
for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water
and a towel. He quickly brought them to her.
She took the little fellow to the back
part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed
his little  feet, and dried them with the towel.
By this time, the clerk had returned with
the socks.. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she purchased him
a pair of shoes..
  She tied up the remaining pairs of socks
and gave them to him.. She patted him on the head and said, ‘No
doubt, you will be more comfortable now..’
   As she turned to go, the astonished kid
caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears
in his eyes, asked her,   ‘Are you God’s wife?’
Do YOU have a great story from a child’s life that you want to share?  Comment or send it our way! Let the good vibes continue!

Goodie Bags Build Assets

March 3rd, 2014

My friends Mary & Lauren have been doing a thoughtful family project to help people that are homeless. They help their children decorate lunch bags with cheerful pictures, then they fill the bags with nonperishable snacks like granola bars, raisins, peanut butter crackers, pretzels, juice boxes… When they drive past a homeless person asking for money, they share one of their bags of goodies.

This would be an easy project to do with a class or afterschool club, and you can engage children ages 2-22.

It’s a safe and simple way to help people in need. It teaches your children to recognize people that are in need, and find ways to help. It encourages your children to be creative. It helps families combat the me-me-me attitude that creeps up on all of us.

Here are some of the specific assets this project helps to build:

Youth as resources. Young people are given useful roles in the community. Service to others. Young person feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.
Adult role models. Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behaviour.
Creative activities. Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theatre, or other arts.
Caring. Young person places high value on helping other people.
Equality and social justice. Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
Responsibility. Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
Planning and decision making. Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
Interpersonal competence. Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
Cultural competence. Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.

I’d love to hear about simple ways you’ve seen children help people in need! You can email me at ann(at)theassetedge(dot)net or simply leave a comment below.


The Power of Valuing Each One

February 26th, 2014
Here, we share the fourth winner in the Caring Child Contest.
Whenever I’m disappointed with my spot
in life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott.
    Jamie was trying out for a part in the
school play. His mother told me that he’d set his heart on being
in it, though she feared he would not be chosen..
    On the day the parts were awarded, I went
with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her,
eyes shining with pride and excitement..  ‘Guess what, Mom,’ he
shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to
me….’I've been chosen to clap and  cheer.’
I love how the teacher made this child feel valued and valuable!  There is no too small role – everyone counts!



Developing a Sense of Community

February 24th, 2014

world star people










I’ve had several different conversations about building community this month, so I thought I’d share six steps to building community.  These steps work with youth and adults. They work in schools, community organizations, churches, and businesses.  It’s a common sense structure for building groups that know one another, care for one another, and work together well.

STAGE 1: STARTING OFF RIGHT Every group has a beginning. How they begin is important. Starting a group off right can save you from having to go back later to do damage control or try to re-establish connections that didn’t take the first time.

STAGE 2: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Relationship building is on-going. Natural changes within group dynamics can impact group bonding. This calls for attention and care to be given to intentionally engaging, energizing and strengthening group identity on an on-going basis.

STAGE 3: BECOMING A TEAM With time, groups evolve from many individuals into a cohesive unit. This happens as friendships develop and trust takes root. Groups need to discover and develop their team identity through team builders that require trust, cooperation, communication and working together.

STAGE 4: DEEPENING TRUST Deepening trust is vital to the health and cultivation of successful teams. Thriving teams must stretch beyond their comfort zones and dare positive risks, both emotionally and physically. The rewards are self-discovery, confidence, group cohesiveness, confidence in voicing opinions and achieving goals.

STAGE 5: CHALLENGING THE TEAM With established trust comes the ability to tackle new risks, further develop leadership skills, practice critical thinking and decision-making skills and resolve conflicts. Teams are put to the test through challenging, stress-induced activities that call for various leadership strengths and styles.

STAGE 6: AFFIRMING GROWTH & CELEBRATING SUCCESSES Transitions offer opportunities to reinforce established bonds, recall important moments, group experiences, learning and growth. They also provide a time to celebrate talents, time together, successes and positive group identity. Marking these moments lets the group experience real affirmation and accomplishment.

We originally shared these stages in our book, Great Group Games: 175 Boredom-Busting, Zero-Prep Team Builders for All Ages, published by Search Institute in Minneapolis.  The book contains instructions and reflection questions for 175 games that correlate with these 6 stages.  The games will help usher your team or group through all 6 stages of group development – and you’ll have a lot of fun playing with purpose!

Taking time to build this kind of community will transform the attitude and personality of your group!  I’d love to hear what you have done to build strong community in the places you live, work, and play.



Learning and Growing

February 19th, 2014

“The brain of a child is a developing miracle.  A child’s developing mind is nurtured by loving interactions, a secure and predictable environment and hands-on experiences that invite exploration and learning. Parents, as children’s first teachers, should unlock doors and open windows that allow children to learn and grow.”

Sean Brotherson, Family Science Specialist, NDSU Extension Service


100 Ways to be kind to children

February 17th, 2014


This is a great list of 100 ways to be kind to children around you.  Not just courteous, but truly kind.  There list is divided into categories, such as:

Tell them

Play with them







Take time



Let go



Take a few minutes to scan the list, and ponder how you might be more deeply kind to the kids in your life.  Then print off the list to share with other caregivers, or share the link on a listserve.


Coaching = Supervising?

February 14th, 2014

We asked a group of new supervisors to think about traits of their coaches that were particularly effective.  They mentioned:


  • Unconditional love
  • Support
  • Motivator
  • Tough
  • Caring
  • Observant
  • Sees things in you that you don’t see
  • Challenges you to do more and try more
  • Consistant


The goal of a supervisor and coach are very similar.  Moving towards success. Reaching for vision.  Building a sense of team.  Practicing in order to reach success.


What can we learn from coaches to apply to being a supervisor?  Whether you are supervising youth or adults, take a few minutes to reflect on how you can be a better coach.



25 Ways to Get Student’s Attention

February 12th, 2014

If you have ever tried to get the attention of a large group of children, you know the importance of having tips and tricks up your sleeves!  This article has LOTS of ideas for getting student’s attention.  Surely there is something in the list that will fit your style!  We’d love to hear your tips too, so please share!