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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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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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Last week, I wrote a piece about some looks that my students received on a field trip . It was an eye-opening experience for me that demanded immediate attention and reflection. I  shared the piece with my learning network and over all of my social media sites, but how could it end there? How could I create change in the lives of my students if they didn't know about this experience? This is what happened when I shared with them.

We had some time at the end of my classes on Thursday, so I decided to read the piece to my kids. While reading, I gauged the reactions and stopped where it seemed necessary. Each class wanted to talk about different things, but the overall response was the same. They were angry and upset with the reactions that they received, but they were also happy. They were appreciative that I spoke up on their behalf and that I spent the time to write about them. One class broke out into applause when I finished reading to them.

The next day it was time to talk about the piece and dig deep into some tough conversations with my students. They knew it was coming and they were ready. I did not expect my students to come as hard and as real as they did.

I started the conversation by declaring the classroom a safe place. I reminded my students that this conversation would not be easy for some to talk about. I told them that we needed to support each other, show love and appreciation, and not judge the actions or thoughts of anyone. I informed them that what we said in the room, stayed in the room. Everyone in the class agreed to these basic rules and we moved forward.

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