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Resource for Substitute Teachers

August 9th, 2014

One of our educator friends emailed us this note about our best-selling books Great Group Games.   It made us smile, and we thought it might give you an idea to encourage youthworkers and educators in your life:

“I led the Human Treasure Hunt with a 2nd grade class last week and they had a blast!!  Susan and Ann – you girls have made my substituting days SOooo much easier and so much fun!”

Find out more about the book here or at your favorite online reseller.

Inspire My Kids

August 6th, 2014

“Kids can change the world. All they need is a little inspiration!”  That’s the tagline for InspireMyKids.  They provide ideas and resources to inspire parents and educators to inspire children.  The site is full of easy to navigate stories, quotes and other cool stuff.

You can sort by values:

Or topics:

And you can even sort by subject or age.  So cool!  Check it out and see how you can inspire kids around you at: http://inspiremykids.com

What’s Under Your Cape? SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind

July 15th, 2014

Greetings from Barbara at The Corner on Character. During my thirty years spent teaching and counseling (all grades preK through 12th) in public education, I have been encouraged time and time again by colleagues and friends to write a book. Since I’d been sharing my ideas for character integration online since 2000, my pat answer was always that I’d posted enough content for a book online, for free. But still, character educators seemed enthusiastic about and eager for a book. Then, one day in early October 2103, I got an email from a cyberspace collaborator in Florida with the word PROMISE in the subject line. Here’s what it said:

Can you promise me one day when you consolidate all of your amazing posts into your future best-selling book that I can get a signed copy? Your posts belong on a bookshelf as well as your blog, especially in libraries everywhere. Dream big, God has incredible plans for you. Love you sweet friend, Tamara

I received the gift of encouragement, from Tamara, that day and shortly afterward, I met Marian from Nelson Publishing and Marketing at the Character Education Partnership National Forum on Character Education where she saw me speak. Before I knew it, I was sending a signed book contract off to Michigan.

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Using this guiding question as a focus – What do workshop participants typically leave my sessions having enjoyed and wanting more of? –  the answer, character-infusion stories and strategies, became the basis for What’s Under Your Cape? SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind. It’s a quick guide to character development, aimed at educators and caregivers who have a hand in helping our future leaders crusade for good. Using the acrostic SUPERHEROES to layout the eleven chapters, I’ve infused inspirational interactions with innovative ideas to help develop eleven of the virtues that we can nurture in our caped crusaders as we empower them to soar.

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Here now, an excerpt from Chapter 3 – P is for Perseverance:

So, how do we get our superheroes to stay the course? They have to have permission to fail. They need to know that not only is failure okay but that, according to author Paul Tough, it might be the key to success. In his research, Tough found that grit, resilience, and perseverance were key ingredients in the success stories of their test subjects.10 Kids who don’t give up when they encounter obstacles in their way, who don’t quit when they hit a pothole in the road, and who don’t abandon ship when the winds shift and steering their vessel seems all but impossible are the kids who find the greatest success through their school years and beyond. As we coach these learners, we must encourage them to take risks and to be okay with messing up. They need to know that mistakes are opportunities for reflection, improvement, and growth. We must help them strive to do THEIR best, not be THE best. We have to change the mindset that the silver medal is somehow losing. Silver isn’t losing. It’s coming in second. That’s all. When did silver get so tarnished? Is it possible that we’re raising kids to quit when they think they can’t attain the coveted gold at the end of the rainbow?

When my daughter started in the marching band, she had high hopes for them at the State Marching Contest. They were marching a clean and elegant show with strong music, and they ended up fourth in the State of Texas out of 250 bands their size. Two years and lots of growth and improvement later, their band came out of the preliminary competition number one. But there were still finals with new judges and a clean slate. The students marched their hearts out, and they came in second. They were devastated. Crushed to have gotten so close to gold and yet so far. Second place out of so many bands is good, no doubt, but they set their standards high. They worked hard, and there was a lot of disappointment.

But here’s what superheroes know: winning is a state of mind. There were thousands of students who didn’t even get a trip to the state competition because they didn’t advance out of their district or their area, so just getting to state made them winners. The way that the 271 members, musicians and guard members, together created magic with their music made them winners. Leaving it all on the field, heart and soul, made them winners. It shouldn’t matter, if they worked hard, persevered, and gave it their best, and earned second or fifth or tenth.

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Thank you for your interest in my new release; author-signed copies of the book are available for purchase at The Corner On Character.  For superhero activity ideas, visit my Pinterest page and to come along on our What’s Under Your Cape? book study that starts July 12, check out the book’s Facebook page

See schedule below and check out the first chapter review at http://curlsandasmile.blogspot.com/2014/07/whats-under-your-cape-book-study-and.html

 

 

Students Provide Games for After School Care Sites

May 14th, 2014

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We love games, we love helping children and we love service; so we decided to connect all of those passions when we were invited to lead 10 onsite service stations at Ensworth High School’s Social Issues Conference.

We partnered with NAZA (Nashville After Zone Alliance), whose afterschool care providers are always looking for creative ways to engage young people in learning.  Ensworth students created and/or shared 20 games that the children can play with a deck of cards.   They are creative and they are fun!  We will be sharing them with the NAZA site directors next month.

How could your students help younger children in your community?  Could you create games?  Lead games?  Read together? Coach a sports team? Lead a sports clinic? Tutor?

The possibilities are endless.  Take Ensworth’s lead, and find a way that your students can make a difference – on campus or off campus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for a great onsite service project in middle Tennessee, you might consider partnering with Charis Ministries, like we did for the onsite service stations at Ensworth High School’s Social Issues Conference.

Students worked together to pack 131 bags of rice for Charis Ministries to share with local families in need.  It was a great tangible way for young people to help hungry families without leaving campus.   There are other ways you can help at Charis too:

Host a Food Drive

A food drive at your church, neighborhood, or school can reach many, many people in need. Charis supplies information, flyers, and barrels to collect the food contributions. We keep it simple so the emphasis is on helping people in need.

Deliver Food

To deliver boxes of food, volunteers from local churches come together on Saturday’s. A couple of adults or a family with kids picks up the food boxes and household information, including maps, for each home they will visit. Recipients have pledged to remain home until the food box arrives.   Along with the box of food, volunteers offer their friendship, encouragement, and prayers. Interaction is both informal and respectful.

 

Find out more – 615-373-1261 – learn@charisministries.net

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 – http://www.exquisite-minds.com/gifted-resources-lessons-and-curriculum/

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 http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/the-world-of-100

Great Melissa and Doug toy for girls

March 28th, 2014

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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!

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.

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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

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!

Science Fun and Flower Fun

December 18th, 2013

Did you know that you could change the color of a flower?

Teach your kids this magic trick and they can wow friends and family.

Then see what you can learn about the science behind the color change!

Math Fun: Hot Chocolate Math

December 16th, 2013

I love this teaching idea from No Time For Flash Cards - Hot Chocolate Math!!

Science Fun: Memorizing the Planets

December 11th, 2013

If your kids are studying the solar system, check out these fun ways to memorize the planets:

How to Remember the Order of the Planets in Our Solar System

Science and Language Fun: Secret Codes

December 9th, 2013

I love these creative ideas for writing and deciphering secret codes.  I think kids will have a blast with them!

Science Fun: Bubbles Everywhere!

December 4th, 2013

Get a jug of bubble solution and some items from around the house, and you’ll be ready for an hour of bubble fun.

Bubbles.org, suggests these items:   String formed into a loop, the plastic which holds a six-pack of pop together, cookie sheets, aluminum oven pans, plastic bowls, empty milk containers, buckets, old pieces of hose, garbage can lids, even just your hands held in the right position

Check this link for tutorials with some of the items above.