Tag Archives: children

What Will You Do To Make The World More Beautiful?

While taking a break from the hot sun, I read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney to my youngest two. A few pages in, the little girl tells her grandfather how she too will travel to faraway places and live by the sea, just as he did. Her grandfather replies, “There is a third thing you must do, you must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

This sparked a long conversation with my two chatterboxes…what would they do to make the world more beautiful? Some of their responses (text images created by them):

My 6 year old son…

 beautiful1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 9 year old daughter…

beautiful 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is why I love reading with my children…for one, quiet time sitting with them; a nice balance to the craziness of our usual running around. Two, I love listening to their different perspectives when talking about the story (be it their age, gender, personality or whatnot). For my son it was all visual. Beauty to him is what he can see/touch. For my daughter it was more about doing things that would make others happy. With most every story we read comes a conversation. I not only learn from and about them, but so many times it fuels ideas of things to do with them when we do have some down time.

Before summer vacation started I asked all three of my children to come up with a way to give back/do for others (it didn’t have to be big or grand). We try to volunteer throughout the year – but it’s usually me telling them how or what we will be doing. This time, I wanted to leave it up to them. Well…a month into the summer and it is this book/conversation that has sparked some ideas. They’ve chosen (when we return home) to combine their “making the world more beautiful” with giving back. We will be planting flowers for a few moms (grandmoms) that might not otherwise have pretty flowers to look at and find a hospital where we can bring (as my daughter puts it) books with pretty pictures to kids that are sick. As I asked, nothing grand…just ideas from their heart.

what will you do...


Appreciating Those Making a Difference

THANKS

 

This was a week of thanking all those who make a difference in our children’s lives. This week we all took time to thank the wonderful teachers and educators, this weekend we thank all the wonderful moms out there, and just around the corner we will be thanking the dads. Our children are surrounded by so many people who care and want the absolute best for their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual well being.

As a child, I don’t know that I fully understood how blessed I was to have teachers that were there for us not only in the classroom teaching us the skills we needed to pursue our dreams – but also there for us outside the class as a coach, friend or cheerleader. As an adult looking back, I am so greatly appreciative of all that my teachers provided me. As a parent I have been so lucky to connect with some of the most amazing educators both at my children’s schools and those I’ve learned from on Twitter. These people don’t stop learning when they receive their degree or caring when their day ends at 3:35pm. They are tirelessly giving their time and hearts to make sure our children get the best education possible, and keeping them safe when not in our care.

As a mom, I can honestly say that until you become a parent, you have no idea what it is like. I don’t care how much time you spend with children; nothing compares to the amount of time, care and heart it takes to raise a child of your own….and NOTHING is more gratifying. Every decision you make affects their lives. The toughest part? There is no class or book on the steps to being a “good” parent. You can read and listen to all the advice in the world, but in the end it comes down to you making a decision based on what you feel is best for your child/family. There are many “live and learn” moments.

I feel so lucky to say that I am surrounded by more parents and educators than I can count that not only care about their child or class, but also all the other children and schools out there. They all serve in different ways. The neighbors who pick up your child from the bus stop when you’re running late; the parents volunteering in school to provide the students with a day of fun; the parents and teachers sharing and learning from each other online and in person to find better ways support and educate our children; the dad who coaches long after his children have grown because he loves sharing his passion for the game; the teacher who lends an ear when a student has no one else to turn to; the advocates pushing to improve education.

This week I am so grateful for not only my mother & teachers – but for all the people making a difference in children’s lives every day. You all are what inspire the rest of us to do more and be the best we can be. THANK YOU!


We Are Our Children’s Role Model

Its not always what you do and say LR

From the time they are little. Before they can use their words. We tell our children to use inside voices, share their toys, say/wave hello. As they get older, we send them to school and friend’s houses and remind them to be good, use their manners, and remember to say please & thank you.

We talk so much about teaching our children to be compassionate, empathetic and respectful of others, both in school and at home, yet as our family begins another baseball season, I am quickly reminded why our children do what they do. Why we continue to see kids saying and doing hurtful things to others. Just as they mimic the positive things the adults in their lives do, they also mimic the negative.

In just the last week I witnessed parents yelling at umpires, arguing with coaches who are volunteering their time, complaining about a schedule not working with their personal schedule, making insulting about the kids on the opposing team, and a mom shocked that I would allow her to sit on the my dry blanket on the wet bleachers simply because I was from the opposing team. After watching and coaching my children in sports over the last 10 years, I shouldn’t be surprised anymore…yet I am because I do believe there is more good than bad; that the bad news simply travels faster and speaks louder. These issues are not limited to sports; we witness them while shopping, at work and while at school, just about anywhere you go.

We need to remember that children are not only listening to what we tell them, but they are also observing our actions. We need to model those “good” traits that we so wish for our children to possess…even when we think they aren’t paying attention.


Connected Parents and the Power of Twitter

Twitter Meta Moo! too far?

(Photo credit: Josh Russell)

Once I decided to give Twitter a chance, it took me months to figure out how it might be of use to me as a parent. To start I sat through a Twitter 101 night at our school. I went because I wanted to learn how to use a tool that I knew my children will be using sooner or later, whether I liked it or not. I will warn you that a 1 hour crash course is not enough time to learn a new language. It is a start though. Twitter, just as a new language, is best learned when you are immersed in it.

The first few months went by and I enjoyed seeing snippets of the school day as the principal and a few teachers tweeted…but was this it? Was it just about following celebrities and watching what happened at school? After a few months, I joined in on the weekly #PTchat. Although the title stands for “Parent-Teacher chat”, it was mostly educators (not to say they weren’t also parents – but they were speaking mostly from the educator’s perspective). As great as the topics were, just sharing out from a parents lens wasn’t going to keep me interested in using this tool…I had to get something from it.

The more people I followed, the more I participated, the more I realized that everything that is shared could also be used by parents to help their children continue the learning outside of school, educate ourselves to be better advocates for our children, and provide insight on how to improve all of our home and school partnerships. Twitter has given me tools and ideas on how to help my children get more from their studies. Ideas that I possibly could have gotten from reading dozens of books, but realistically don’t have time for. One of my biggest takeaways so far (remind you I’m only a year in) is my recent discovery of the literacy powerhouses we have access to (this sentence can be translated to whatever your interest is). It is through Twitter that I found several phenomenal books on reading comprehension; given the opportunity to observe another school’s reading workshops; and connected with and learned from literacy experts from all over the world on how to help my children improve their reading skills and then bring those ideas to the attention of our school for all students to benefit.

So where can parents start? Who can they follow? Below are two places I found people who I have drawn from. These are just a few – I encourage you to share those who have inspired you.

If your school and/or teachers, principal and fellow parents are on Twitter – follow them. The glimpse into the school day provides you with great conversation starters outside of “how was school?” and it is nice to see what other classrooms are doing. For me it was @knappelementary, @joe_mazza, @miss_a_abel and @lspencerslp. (This list has grown since then – but too many to list)

Check out chats. The first one I joined in was #PTchat. Not only can you share and get some great info/ideas from these – but you also can find other people to follow that share similar interests. This is my number one source to finding great minds and inspirations. It also provides you with the opportunity to interact with people you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance. Some of the people I have pulled the most info and ideas from are: @lisaodavis (my partner in this blogging adventure and a role model for advocating for our children); @lornacost, @drpricemitchell, @smconstantino, @drmerylain and @larryferlazzo (connecting parents and schools); @sirotiak02, @coachyetter and @johnfritzky (teachers who share the ways they inspire kids to want to learn and how they include the families in the learning); @pennykittle, @kylenebeers, @sharonletslearn (literacy superstars); and @freeingyourmind, @micheleborba and @annie_fox (pros in the mental well-being of our children).

Twitter didn’t make me a connected parent or an advocate for my children’s education – but has made me a more effective one.


SheilaSpeaking

A space for thinking, reflecting and sharing about education -- and the odd other thing...

Ingvi Hrannar

Icelandic educator, iPad 1:1 classroom, speaker & entrepreneur.

Penn-Finn Learnings 2013

Sharing our inquiries - March 23-30

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