Apple Seeds- Thoughts for Teachers and Friends- Jan. 6

“Everything is possible for one who believes.” MARK 9:23 (NIV)

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Happy New Year!  As I was looking for the next teacher/ friend quote for 2020, I came upon this one. It was taken from the New International Version Bible. I respect and know that some of my followers may come from different religions or faith systems, but just looking at the words and their meaning, the quote can be very powerful.

Personally for me, three things came to mind.

1. In my Apple Seeds-Thoughts for Teachers, I found it listed under Christmas, which makes great sense to my belief system.

2. I thought it may be a wonderful option choice for a New Year’s Resolution. This is a resolution that would be ongoing, developed step by step, and celebrated or repeated based on the experiences one has.

3. In my home, I have a plaque as you enter, that says,  “We Believe”. This sign is left up all year long. It’s a saying that I still tell my children, along with “Close your eyes, remember this moment and make a memory.”

The quote, “Everything is possible…,” can make sense for both teachers and friends. With everything going on in the world today, we need to make sure that we reinforce and model being positive and having a belief system that includes the thought that everything is possible.

People can tell you anything is possible. But that in itself is not enough to believe that anything is possible. Believing that anything is possible is an achievement through experience. This belief is born of your small everyday successes and victories in which a teacher, friend, parent can help to support you in your pursuit of a task, a plan or even a dream.

Written from an philosopher standpoint,  when you accomplish something you initially thought impossible, you literally send the message to your brain that the impossible is after all possible. This message is stronger and roots itself deeper into your belief system when the experience repeats itself over some extended period of time.

So looking back over the course of your life, can you find occasions where you accomplished things you initially thought were impossible, but yet you continued to do them.

Believing that anything is possible is also a very good perspective at life but is not obtained merely by assuming that anything is possible. As Sophie Caldecott (writer for the site, Intellectual Takeout) said, “Being happy is not true optimism.We may not be able to change how we feel, and we certainly can’t force ourselves to be happy, but we don’t have to because that’s not what true optimism is about. What we can do, is to choose to change what we focus on, little by little, day by day. It’s a choice, and sometimes a daily battle, to stay open and receptive and keep looking outwards, to keep engaging proactively with the world instead of retreating inwards and strengthening the hard, protective walls you’ve built to try and shelter yourself from your fears.”

Good instincts, best intentions, confidence, positive actions and support may be some of the key elements from making the impossible, the possible. Think about how you can help a student, a friend, a child believe in the possible. Imagine a world with more people believing in the possible. It will take strength and courage to achieve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple Seeds- Thoughts for Teachers and Friends- Dec 13

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him/her, and to let him/her know that you trust them.  Booker T. Washington

Who was Booker T. Washington?  Educator Booker T. Washington was one of the foremost African-American leaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, founding the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, now known as Tuskegee University.  Who better to give us advice and inspiration than a leader from the 19th and early 20th century who helped many educators and political individuals.

So many times as teachers we want to help students but then we end up doing the task for the student, rather than having the student try it on their own. We say in our own mind that we have the best intentions. But what we are teaching is learned helplessness and then we wonder why they are not more independent or don’t take initiative.

Trust is such an important value that we want to build with each and every student. If a child can carry out a responsibility, then a trusting relationship has begun. When interviewing teachers for a potential job, we look for responses that relay key words in building teacher-student relationships: trust, respect, responsibility, and safety. In fact many successful PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) schools are built on these key values. If you can build trust and responsibility, learning can occur more easily.  Also please don’t forget to communicate your trust with your student. You never want to assume they know they fulfilled your request.

What does this quote mean for us as parents? We need to foster responsibility with our children. How does that look? It means children making mistakes but yet feeling a part of house and family community.  Starting with small tasks and progressing to more complicated jobs. An example of this, is having children do household chores. Does your son/daughter clean as thoroughly as you would like, maybe not, but with your guidance than can reach reasonable standards. I remember my mom would ask me to dust, and I thought I did a good job. But there were times that I had to do the job again based on places that I missed. Another example of this, is if you have a family pet, having your son/daughter walk or feed the pet. Is is a big responsibility? Yes! But not only are you building trust with your child, but the pet is building a relationship with another family member vs depending on just you and the building of life skills.  You can also develop natural consequences for tasks that need to be completed. For instance, if a dog doesn’t go out when directed, the child has to clean up the bathroom mess. Oh, yes!

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This quote also has to do with adults. If you don’t allow new employees a learning phase to gain responsibility for new job assignments or tasks; employees will begin to self doubt and will be afraid to take on new tasks without the employers full direction and guidance. With trust, and responsibility comes patience, guidance, understanding and flexibility. You will find these type of positive working environments are the most successful and have the best productivity. So evaluate your work place.  Are leaders allowing for you to take on responsibility? Is effective communication happening? Is there trust and respect in your every day doings? Working in a controlling environment, does not do anything for creativity, cooperation, and professional growth.

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Remember- The expert in anything was once a beginner! 

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Apple Seeds- Thoughts for Teachers and Friends- Nov 25

Helpful Hints to Remember!

There’s a chill in the air with Thanksgiving around the corner. Many look forward to this holiday; being with family and friends. This is also a time teachers enjoy. They get to take a break from the everyday practice of schedules, duties, curriculum and discipline.

I thought a list of ideas may be helpful to implement as soon as you get back into your daily routine after the holiday.

*WRITING NOTES

TEACHERS-Stress reliever before a test: Allow students to write down everything they remember from their memory.   It’s not cheating but instead it allows students to validate all they have studied.

FRIENDS- If you really like an idea. Write it down on your note page in your phone, or take a picture.   Don’t be embarrassed. You are the one benefiting from having acquired an idea that you won’t forget.

*ASKING A QUESTION and WANTING an ANSWER

TEACHERS and FRIENDS-

When asking someone a question, wait at least 10 seconds for him/her to give an answer.  Waiting is up there with listening. It may seem long, but it’s worth it.

You will see positive changes to behaviors and attitudes. The wait-time allows people to take risks. You not only want one to try out new thoughts, but to take risks in a safe environment.  Research has shown that the length and correctness of responses increased. The number of “no” or “I don’t know” responses decreased. The number of people responding in a group setting increases. Academic scores and interactions increase.

*READ

TEACHERS AND FRIENDS-

Read your memos. Read your journals. Read your newsletters. Read an interesting article. But most importantly, read a good book for the fun of it. We are caught up in the instant video, podcast, or even someone reading to us.  Take the time- you deserve it! Reading is important because it helps to expand the mind and develop imagination and creativity. Reading improves concentration, discipline, memory, builds self-esteem and improves vocabulary.

I found it interesting that reading builds self-esteem. When you read, you become more educated, which builds confidence. Increased confidence builds self-esteem.

*BE ENCOURAGING and THANKFUL

TEACHERS AND FRIENDS-

Tell someone they “can’t” enough times and pretty soon, they won’t. Encouraging is the act of giving someone support, confidence and hope. Never underestimate the power of a positive encouraging word to change our outlooks in life.

Encouragement:

  1. It helps to provide energy to accomplish our objective.
  2. It gives us hope.
  3. It helps us to change our perspective.
  4. It restores self-confidence.
  5. It helps to make people work harder.
  6. It helps to make people succeed.
  7. It helps to build self-esteem.

People who live with an attitude of gratitude are known to live longer, sleep better, and have increased productivity and happier lives. “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Ward  

Happy Thanksgiving Wishes to You~

I am so thankful for my family, friends, and followers!

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Apple Seeds- Thoughts for Teachers and Friends- Nov 1

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November 1- Laugh! Merriment produces sunshine for your soul. And it lets the students know you’re human.

Have you ever been with someone and you laugh so hard you almost cry? I have and it’s some of my best memories. In fact, just this last weekend, I had multiple times that I laughed out loud. I am very fortunate to have people that I can share the joy of laughter. I came across this article in my research of how laughing is important to your health.  I enjoyed what I read and I like how the article came right to the point about the reasons why we should laugh more. I hope that you reflect on the article as a teacher, friend, parent, I did,  and remember or share the ways that are listed. I have listed the author and title of the article for your reference.

Laughing does produce sunshine for the soul and I highlighted how it makes you more human!

Stop Doing Nothing Site-Article from Health and Fitness Section

by Patrick Allmond

1. Laughter Makes Us Healthier

Laughter is a good thing. Scientists tell us that laughter, humor and joy are an important part of life. Laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and increases muscle flexion. It increases the circulation of antibodies in the blood stream and makes us more resistant to infection.

2. Laughter Touches Our Soul

Laughter is good for us physically, but that is just the beginning. Laughter is good for the soul. There is a holiness in laughter. Laughter brings us closer to each other – and there is something holy about people coming together. Laughter provides us a moment of grace. It occurs spontaneously and unexpectedly. It catches us by surprise and we respond with laughter. We never expect to laugh, just as we never expect grace or good fortune when it arrives. And in that grace, we are able to recognize the folly of our own pursuits.

3. Laughter Keeps Things in Perspective

Laughter helps us to transcend ourselves, and I need that help. Too often I take myself far too seriously. There is a danger of taking ourselves, our beliefs and our life too seriously. Fanatics, it seems to me, see nothing as funny. Here’s a suggestion. The next time you’re in the middle of an argument, start laughing – not in a derogatory tone, but in the jovial sense of being in on a good joke. Then see if the anger begins to melt away and if you can find a more creative way to handle things. I’ve done this with my kids and it actually works. And you know what else? Now I know that when I think about doing it and don’t, that I have lost my perspective.

4. Laughter Helps Us Stay Positive

Laughter can be an important tool for keeping our troubles in proportion, for realizing that things aren’t always as bad as we think they are. But even when things are as bad as we think they are, laughter helps create positive emotions and helps us find a frame of mind in which we can more easily cope with the struggles of life. Laughter eases tension and sharpens our ability to concentrate.

GREAT QUOTE! Laughter is a lot like changing a baby’s diaper. It doesn’t permanently solve any problems, but it makes things a lot more acceptable for a while.

4. Laughter is Loving

If I am able to laugh with you in my mistakes as well as with you in yours, it suggests we are all flawed and imperfect. Embracing good-natured humor, we find the humility to see the foolishness of trying to be perfect and the gift of enjoying the smiles and laughter of love.

Children laugh on average 200 times a day and adults only 26 times a day.

How many times a day do you experience the rich joy of laughter? If we want to be happier, healthier, and more productive we seriously need to make time to laugh. Because when we laugh, when we really laugh, deep from the belly… we feel alive!

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Apple Seeds- Thoughts for Teachers and Friends- Oct.18

Oct. 18- The more a student is afraid of making a mistake, the more mistakes will be made. 

When I read this, I thought of children who are afraid of not getting an answer right in front of their peers or teacher.  As said in past posts, creating a safe, caring, and respectful environment, is key to children feeling comfortable about making a mistake and being successful by learning from their mistakes.  Also if a child does need assistance or support what better way than in a classroom of learners that all help each other and recognize that to make mistakes can be a natural part of the process of understanding.

I also related this quote to adults. Just this past week, I listened to a Ted Talk conducted by Olivia Remes from the University of Cambridge. She discussed how many people today have anxiety concerns. She stated, anxiety=thinking too much. What I found to be helpful, is she gave coping strategies that anyone can use to lower anxiety or you can share with others. She discussed that if people can engage in experiences they have control of they can begin to develop habits they will help with anxiety.

Strategies- 

  1. Forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself and forgive mistakes that you make. Also forgive mistakes that you may have had in the past. You can be your own worst enemy and be harder on yourself than others.
  2. Wait to worry. When you have something that you are worrying about and can’t seem to stop thinking about it or not able to let it go, pick a specific time or hour later in the day, that you will worry about it. Mindfulness helps to focus your attention on the present moment. Sounds crazy, but she said that if the brain and stress indicators (flight or fight) knows that you will take care of something later, the level of anxiety will not be has high, you will become distracted and recognition of the situation may allow you to see that what you thought was very serious is not as earth shattering.
  3. Do it badly. When given an assignment, or task, you are to begin without worrying or thinking about the end result. This speeds up decision making and helps you set up reasonable standards. Many times getting started can be the most difficult part or overwhelming. As you complete the task, then you can make improvements along the way. What you perceive to be somewhat paralyzing, many times it is not as serious as first thought. Also if you try this task for 15 min., you feel better that you got something done or at least started it.
  4. Opposite action. Do the opposite of what you are feeling. Your emotions will shift towards the opposite. For example- you don’t feel great and you’re anxious about something. You don’t want to get off the couch. Go for a 20 min walk, anywhere. You will feel better.
  5. Having a purpose and meaning in life. In life, recognize, support and help the people who need you (family, friends, coworkers, etc.). Volunteering of your time and skills can also be a healthy alternative to give meaning to your life. If you give of yourself, you’ll understand the why and be able to bear the how.
  6. Smile!  If you smile, it changes the neurotransmitters in your brain. Even its a half smile 🙂

Hope this helps, whether you are a student or a teacher. Share a strategy that works. You can do it!

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Apple Seeds- Thoughts for Teachers and Friends- Oct.10

October 10- If students know that they must pay the consequences, they will be responsible for their behavior in the first place. 

During my time as an educator, we used different methods of discipline. One that made clear sense to me, was Love and Logic. This was a method, with the premise that you want children to be administered discipline that helps to raise self-confident, motivated children who are ready for the real world. You want to provide a structure that allows you teach children responsibility while growing character. It’s a method that establishes healthy boundaries through easy-to-implement steps without threats, nagging or power struggles.  Love and Logic also allows children to embrace their mistakes as learning opportunities to become responsible, respectful, and caring children. This same type of discipline can be used in the home as well as school.  In different school systems that I worked, classes were held for parents to practice how to handle various situations. Love and Logic was very effective, because it dealt with consequences and responsibility in a loving and caring way.

I think so many times we try to protect children by not being upfront about consequences that will happen due to their actions.  Then the next error we make as adults, is that we also try to control a child’s environment by not allowing them to make mistakes. We are all guilty of this, due to our best intentions. Children are very smart. If done consistently as adults, they expect and know that you will always help them to recover out of difficult or bad situations because of love and caring. Don’t get me wrong, help and support as well as forgiveness is key in building relationships, but not allowing children to make mistakes or learning how to deal with their actions can be harmful especially when learning how to live in the real world outside of the classroom or family home.

In our society, when talking about responsibility, entitlement can also surface. Some children feel as though they are entitled or they deserve something. BUT, Sometimes you don’t always get what you want. Song tune? Yes, as adults of children, or teachers, we do provide love and respect, a place to call home, food to keep healthy, and an education that will help them later in life. But are we providing an environment that they don’t take responsibility with consequences? Things to think about in the classroom and home- Do we create an environment where children do not understand the consequences or responsibility?  Examples- Expectations of :  Rewards for all good behavior, possessions are foremost, popularity is key, someone else does the work, immediate response or service when asked, getting a good grade beats effort, you need to win every game/competition, it’s important to be right all the time.

We as teachers and parents can help children to know the difference between the things they have to work for and things that are given freely. They need to know that with every decision or action comes a consequence (good or bad). We can provide and teach students with problem solving skills and information to help them make good decisions, to handle and understand when things do not turn out as expected, and most importantly how to go forward with good and bad news by means of support or awareness. Let’s create a culture that allows small mistakes with understanding to take place when children are young instead of big mistakes that can’t be changed when they are older.

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Apple Seeds-Thoughts for Teachers and Friends- Sept 26

Sept 26- Teach students to listen before they talk.

Children are learning and practicing social skills every day. They may be impatient to listen or wait their turn to participate in a discussion. It is easier to blurt things out instead of raising your hand in class. It is easier to ask for directions to be repeated instead of listening the first time. Many children are in a hurry, time is of the essence.

I can’t tell you how many times in my career, a child talked out of turn, asked for the repeat of directions, or missed the content due to not listening during instruction. Students may not even follow a process or procedure because they made assumptions of how an assignment was to be done. Children are learning the skill of listening throughout their educational development in a variety of scenarios.

Teachers are modeling (active listening) this in the classroom or situations that demonstrate and reinforce the importance of listening before speaking. As a mentor for new teachers, I try to put emphasis on listening as we learn. We all need to make sure that we listen to instructors before responding. In order for teachers to grow, listening and learning is constant with professional development.

When I read this, I not only thought of students but I thought of adults.  Communication is such an important skill in our world. Listening is the first component. How are we doing with it? As adults, some of us are eager to contribute to a conversation so it may become difficult to listen to the conversation that is happening. I also think that reactions can guide our talking. When we are emotionally invested or have differing views in a conversation, we may have more of a tendency to speak before the other can complete a thought. We may be thinking that if we speak first then we may have more control of the conversation and then the other person will understand your viewpoint better and change their mind or that they don’t even need to say anything. As adults, instead of just listening, or perhaps collaborating or even problem solving, we may be in the frame of mind of determining who is right and who is wrong.

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As teachers, we try to teach children that everyone has the right to provide insight and viewpoint into a conversation and how we do that helps to make a healthy discussion which in turn creates beneficial outcomes for all invested.  Listen……

 

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Apple Seeds-Thoughts for Teachers and Friends- Sept 24

Sept 24- The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Respect- (verb) due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights or traditions of others.

Respect-(noun) a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

The above definitions may be short but definitely carry a great bit of weight in society.

In most of the PBIS  (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) schools- respect, responsibility and safety are values or themes that are foremost in creating positive behaviors that support environments that instill learning.

As with the building of any relationship, respect is key. Respect is cultivated with the young, practiced with peers as well as elders. As a mentor of new teachers, building a respectful classroom or school community is important to a culture. Respect needs to be modeled and nurtured. If there isn’t respect, then it is very difficult for learning to occur.  How do you know you are respected? You are heard, and valued as a connected member of a group, team, grade level, school, district, or community. If you do not have respect, you have lost the building blocks to a positive relationship that helps you to learn and grow as an individual. As an adult, we want respect from our own parents, spouse, coworkers, and leadership. This fundamental truth serves as a foundation for our schools, communities, and everyday encounters in life.

Once you have respect and are treated in a caring way: you are willing to take risks, to make mistakes, to state an opinion or ask a question, and to celebrate your traditions. You learn to understand empathy, and how to care about others’ feelings and their well being. Respect can be earned, modeled and can be demonstrated with effort from both involved parties. The secret of education does involve respect, which involves not only your heart but your actions, too.

Aretha Franklin said it all,

” R.E.S.P.E.C.T,  Find out what it means to me! “

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Apple Seeds- Thoughts for Teachers- Sept 23

**Thanks to those who are reading the blog. Please feel free to share with a teacher or friend.  When appropriate, when reflecting on quotes, I will try to relate it to more than the audience of a teacher.

Sept 23- Lucky the teacher whose students like to daydream once in a while.

As adults we have all daydreamed. When younger, a teacher may have disciplined you for it.

Daydreaming may be a way to:

  • to see things differently
  • way to escape to somewhere else you would like to be
  • handle not being able to focus on the current topic or situation
  • help calm yourself when you become frustrated or confused
  • help your mind rest
  • be inspired by letting your thoughts go adrift

I like how the quote also states, the word “lucky”, and “once in a while.” I interpret that as children being given chances to dream and not be on task. I also see that daydreaming isn’t done all the time, but when appropriate, or when needed.

The newest research states that Meditation and Mindfulness is important to people. Mindfulness-not thinking, interpreting, or evaluating, awareness of perception. Meditation-intentional practice where you focus inward to increase calmness, concentration, and emotional balance. If practiced on a regular basis, it can relieve stress and help you become more centered with yourself and your surroundings, even overcome suffering and recognizing natural wisdom.

It’s interesting isn’t it, that daydreaming, once thought of as someone not being focused may now be one step in your training to help you become more a better you.

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Apple Seeds-Thoughts for Teachers Sept 20

Sept 20-

We’re here to help children succeed. It’s that simple.

Educator Elaine Collins

This quote is right to the point. If you went into teaching as a career because it would be an easy job, please reconsider your major. Even though the quote is easy to understand, how to accomplish this task is quite a process to undertake. When Elaine said we’re here to help children succeed, I think that it means much more than achieving grade level and state standards. Teachers need to thoroughly understand the whole child , (ie; socially, emotionally, physically, academically) while preparing them with the necessary tools to succeed in the world. Succeed means many things to many people. But if you can have a child feel and know that he/she has succeeded in your classroom, you have done your job.

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Success Kid!

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