Friendship – Like and Octopus on Your Face


Today I received this quote from a friend and it made me reflect back on what it means to be a friend and to have a friend. The dictionary defines friendship as the emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends. The state of mutual trust and support, the relationship between individuals that allows for one to feel supported and heard. During times of turmoil, joy, and sorrow it is essential to have a true friend in your corner to be there to share words of encouragement and praise. Some go through life not able to experience the joy of a true friend. I have been lucky enough to have a small group of true friends that I thank god for every day. I feel as if they are an extra part of me they are wound into my moral thread and provide strength and depth to who I am. Think about your tribe, who can you call a true friend? @chipten

Random Acts of Kindness – The Power of One

One grain of sand

can turn the tide

one single spark can light the night

one simple dream

one gentle word

one act of love from someone

can start a change reaction

it all begins in the heart.

The power of one

The Power of One – Bomshel

As I was coming home from the gym this morning a song came on the radio, the song,    “The Power of One” by Bomshel. It made me think exactly how powerful the word “one” can be. As an educator, working with children and adults I know exactly how powerful one act of kindness can be. As minds and bodies grow, it’s abundantly clear that children require a healthy dose of the warm-and-fuzzies to thrive as healthy, happy, well-rounded individuals. Dr. O’Grady shares,

” Kindness changes the brain. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it.”

 Acts of kindness help us form connections with others which are reported to be a strong factor in increasing happiness. When we feel good we produce endorphins. They activate areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust. Show children that we care about them and appreciate their contributions to our learning environment, and they will move mountains.

Children aren’t the only ones that benefit from these warm-fuzzies! Adults do too. As an Elementary Principal, I believe that when your staff feels appreciated they too will move mountains. I make an effort each week to highlight staff contributions in my Monday Memo. It’s like giving a shout out for all the positive things that had happened the week before. I also make sure to provide special treats for my staff. Whether it is for late night conferences or St. Valentines day, food makes them feel appreciated. Every quarter I offer a “freebie” teachers can sign up to have me cover their classroom for 20 minutes while they take an extra break during the day. As a former elementary teacher, the gift of time is priceless.

How do you teacher kindness to students and staff?

Random Acts of Kindness Teacher Challenge (link Below)


Crossing the Line, the Missing Link to Teaching Kids to Read

As I think back to the time when I was in kindergarten, I realize how much has changed. What was once naptime, coloring, painting, and running around the playground at recess, is now a place for reading, writing, sitting still in your chair and an introduction to math facts. 

Even preschool now more focused on academics and many of them tailor their lesson plans to higher learning subjects that normally wouldn’t begin until kindergarten or first grade. 

While this push for greater academic achievement is good in theory, we are now seeing digression, even negative consequences in our students’ learning capability because their development is being pushed too far too fast. A child’s motor planning (jumping, bouncing running), auditory (retaining letters and sounds, listening to the teacher), and sensory input (behavior, focus, attention), and organizational skills used for math, in many cases is now suffering because we did not allow our children adequate time to develop these critical milestones used for helping the left and right sides of the brain work together.

As I read the above article I began to reflect on my own child and his struggle with reading. 7 years ago my husband and I were blessed with an amazing baby boy. Cameron was the center of our world. At the time Cameron was born I was working as a Reading Specialist. I knew how important early literacy was and we began reading to Cameron while I was still pregnant. Cameron was born 8.2lbs 22 inches long. We read to him every night. Cameron was a strong baby who could not wait to walk. He did everything early, walk, talk and get teeth. We were so proud! Fast forward to kindergarten, Cameron was beginning to read and enjoy books. Then first grade, the struggle began! He was not progressing as fast as other kids and was put into a reading intervention program. I was devastated what had I done wrong. Why was he not making gains like the other kids? I began to do Reading Recovery with him at home and that following summer. We were going to get him up to grade level. Second grade began, he worked with an amazing reading specialist again. Cameron loved Mrs. Fleck, and his teacher. He was making great gain. Cameron loved to be active, he enjoyed wrestling, football, and swimming. Often after he would exercise he would complain about his hips hurting him. My husband, an NSCA Certified Strenght and Conditioning coach would spend hours stretching Cameron. We sought the advice of a wonderful chiropractor, Dr. Erin. Dr. Erin did an evaluation on Cameron. During her evaluation, she asked about when Cameron met his developmental milestones. I shared that Cameron was an early walker. She began sharing with me important brain research on training both sides of our brain. She stressed this begins very early and Cameron we needed to stress crossbody activities to help him make these important reading, writing and math connections. 

I currently am an elementary principal and have see the importance of activity for our young learners. I  plan to implement crossbody activities into our classroom on a daily basis.  We have begun to brainstorm ways we can stream these activities into our classroom three times a day. We broadcast our school announcements via our Star 19 news. All the students tune in at 8:35 to hear the news for the day.  I think I’ll try adding some cross body exercises into our lineup. 

Through our struggle to get ahead I think we have forgotten that children need to move and engage in their learning environment. Let’s get our children moving again. How are other school getting their students more activity? Thoughts and ideas always welcome. 

Commit to be fit!