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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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 No matter where you look on social media, you will undoubtedly see posts about how happy people are to see 2016 come to an end. The year was marred by issues of violence and brutality in all areas of our country, deaths of many people who contributed to society, the election of a demagogue to serve as our president, and too many other occurrences to list. It is easy to see why so many people are eager to watch the calendar flip to a new year.

I understand it, but I don't agree with it. 2016 was an interesting year for all of us. It was even more so for me. This was the year that I became fully awake. I immersed myself in the issues that we are experiencing in our world. I became more educated so that I could bring these lessons to the students and staff in my buildings. I stepped my game up and started tackling issues and questioning on a much more public level. It has not always been easy or well-received, but I committed to being awake and working to awaken others.

I appreciate 2016 for all that it has done. I recognize that 2017 brings a lot of uncertainty. Nobody quite knows what direction our country and world will move after January 20. We have no clue how the events of 2016 will impact us at home or in our schools. This can create fear and trepidation, but we must not succumb to that. Instead, we must be more brazen, more steadfast, and more daring to do everything we can for our families, our communities, and our students.

This is why my one word for 2017 is awake. I am a lot of things, but I am an educator first and foremost. This extends to my family, my students, my staff, my community, my social media networks, and wherever else I can make a positive impact. Last year was the tip of the iceberg for me. I am awake and plan on doing everything in my power to create positive change in our world.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants and hold the world in arms grown strong with love. And there be many things we forget in the days to come. But this will not be one of them.

 

Brain Andreas

If I hadn't witnessed it with my own eyes, I am not sure I would have believed it could happen.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

 

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I have experienced so many emotions since learning that 25.5% of this country voted to elect Donald Trump as the next president of our country. Mad, angry, shocked, frustrated, betrayed, scared, and worried are just a few of the feelings that have flooded me. As an educator and a student of human emotion, I understand that love is the only answer to all the issues that this country is facing.

This is why I choose love, but there are things that we need to discuss. Love does not involve blindly accepting what is given to you. Love means questioning and exposing things that need addressing. Love requires us to feel uncomfortable and to take risks to better ourselves. Tough love is an absolute necessity if we are going to move forward and obtain any kind of peace.

Before you read on, I need you to recognize that you might not be ready for the kind of love that I am going to dish out. Real love requires brutal honesty and a step outside of the very comfortable confines of the realities that we have created for ourselves. I ask that you proceed with an open-mind and recognize that this entire piece is grounded in nothing but love for my fellow human. If we are going to continue moving this country forward, we need everyone to embrace love and stand together.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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I recently wrote a piece, Breaking the Silence, that detailed some of the tough conversations that I had with my students surrounding race and how the color of our skin impacts how others view us. The response to my piece has been overwhelming and I have received a lot of support from people all over the world of education. A lot of people have told me that I am courageous and brave, but I'm not buying it.

The ability to have these kind of discussions revolves around strong relationships, a culture of caring, and creating a safe space. As educators, we all have our own way of doing this, but I want to share my approach as it has allowed me to dig deep with my students and get real.

The biggest influence for me in creating a safe space lies with the norms of a program called Challenge Day. I have had the privilege of participating in multiple Challenge Day events in a previous school and I have carried their tenants with me everywhere I have been.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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The more you love mistakes, the more your brain will grow.

Brain scans actually show that our brain grows more when we make mistakes - because it means it's entered new territory, so there's more stuff 'firing'.

People are way too scared of 'failure' and mistakes - which keeps them from pushing themselves into new challenges.  Science is showing that this fear is actually illogical, because mistakes are amazing for the brain! 

Here's how it works:

  1. So the more you and your kids love mistakes, the less you'll be afraid of them.

  2. The less afraid of mistakes you are, the more you will try new things.

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