Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Five Ways to Become Happier Today | Tal Ben-Shahar | Big Think

I just love Tal Ben-Shahar! He truly gives us realistic, everyday ways we can help ourselves to live more fulfilling lives. Please take the time to watch this short video by clicking below. Then, try out his suggestions and let me know what you think!

Five Ways to Become Happier Today | Tal Ben-Shahar | Big Think

Friday, July 23, 2010

Inspired Once Again by a Song

It takes a great song to shake us up sometimes; this song, "Shower the People", by the amazing James Taylor has me thinking and wondering if I take the time to tell and show my loved ones the joy they bring to me. 
Sometimes I wonder if we save our "nice" selves for our workplace or even our online presence and forget to do some of our good deeds for those we see every day.  Hopefully this post will inspire you to hug your kids, look eye to eye with your partner and tell him/her how much you appreciate their love and support. In this fast-paced media-driven frenzy of a world we live in, sometimes we forget to stop and express our love. I love this song and how it will inspire me today.  Right now I am off to call my sisters, who both live way too far away.
How will you "shower the people you love with love?" Please share!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beautiful Inspiring Sights and Sounds of Nature


I went for a walk last night with my husband and son. We climbed up on some rocks, took some pictures of the beautiful sunset and then I jokingly said, "Ok, dolphins, I am ready for you. You can come out now!" I've seen them a couple times lately but not when I have had my camera handy! This time I was prepared and wanted to get a shot for a new young blogger who wrote a post about her love for sea animals. My son looked up some pictures of dolphins and informed me that these are probably harbor porpoises because of their size and shape.
In any event, I savored the beauty and joy of nature with my loved ones. What can you do today to intentionally savor a beautiful sight, smell or sound?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Week of "Firsts" for me!

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It's Sunday, a great day to reflect on the week and think about how I am spending my time while not teaching. I do tutor part-time during the summer, but my schedule allows quite a bit of time to pursue learning and growth opportunities.
I'd like to share with you the opportunities that have presented themselves recently and how I have actually not just "thought about them" but jumped in, feet first, enjoying these exciting new endeavors!
  • On my "Finding Ways for all Kids to Flourish" blog, I invited others to jump in and give me advice via Voicethread and blog comments about how to set up my new classroom at my new school in the fall. The results were pretty amazing. I am so grateful and encouraged by the way we support each other in my PLN, Professional Learning Network. It was a first in asking for help in such a public forum as well as a first posting a Voicethread!
  • I was invited by the amazing Shelly Terrell to present at a virtual conference and actually agreed to do it at the end of July. Since I was a bit panicked about the whole experience, I decided to play with photobooth and photograph and video myself. I even got up the nerve to blog about my photo phobia and shared my video on this post.
  • I decided to play around with Voki and made a voice introduction for this blog and my other blog. Check it out up on the right upper side of this page.
  • I was inspired by George Couros to try out Prezi and made this fun presentation: If you Give a Teacher Twitter . Of course, because it was my first, I am sure I made some beginner errors but I am excited to find a fun creative tool to use with my students.
  • On Tuesday, during the noon EST Twitter edchat, I was busily jumping in tweeting with others when I got a message asking for help moderating. "Me?" I thought nervously, sending Shelly a frantic,"What do I do?" direct message. She replied and off I went, co-moderating with Lisa Dabbs, another great educator I admire so much.
  • On Wednesday, I awoke to a message from Shelly, asking me to write up the edchat summary from Tuesday's chat that I co-moderated.  I was beside myself with anxiety, but grabbed my coffee, jumped right in with the very helpful and easy template provided, and wrote for almost 3 hours. I am sure the perfectionist in me made it took way longer than it should have, but here it is, published today! 
  •  Finally, throughout the week, I chatted on Twitter with some awesome fellow tweeters, @Saskateach and @TheHomeworkDog about our renewed commitment to exercise goals. A joke I made about doing 10 ab crunches for each tweet led to someone proposing a support group, and daily exercise conversation with the hashtag #temt where we posted our daily goals. Yesterday, I decided to take this great idea a step further and started a collaborative blog, Twitter Exercise Motivation Team  inspired by the awesome collaborative blog by @Peoplegogy and began inviting interested parties to join as contributing authors. As of right now, we have nine authors and eight more who requested invitations and have not yet replied. The blog is just over 24 hours old and has 20 followers and visits and posts from all over the world. Our latest post comes from Anna in Greece!
You can probably tell from my enthusiasm and overuse of exclamation points (sorry) that it has been an awesome week of being energized and inspired by my fellow Tweeters. I hope that you catch some of this positive energy and take on a "first" of your own.
I love this quote: I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”–Picasso
Please share your stories of trying new adventures. I love what we learn from each other.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Challenging Myself to New Ventures

This is me after I agreed to co-facilitate a session in an online virtual conference. And I recorded the video below while practicing speaking on camera so I could get over my silly but very serious video phobia. So, you may be thinking, "What in the world is she doing now, advertising her neuroses to the world" and asking people to boost her up and make her feel better. She's a grown woman, who has presented at many conferences, talks to colleagues online, participates in chats on Twitter all of the time. Why does SHE need help?" Well, perhaps it's because I have grown to love and appreciate the amazing support of my online PLN. And frankly, it's because I am a recovered/recovering "shy kid."  It may be  hard to believe, but for much of my childhood I thought up what were, in my head, "great things to say", but never had the guts to say them. Now, in adulthood after the wonderful years of raising my children, I have a passion for sharing what I am learning with others. I am both frozen with fear and joyfully excited that I have been invited to facilitate a session at an upcoming online conference. And, as soon as I have the details of time, date and links, I will definitely share with you!
Perhaps my reflection of this experience will also propel you to take on a challenge that you have been creatively sidestepping. Is there something, deep inside of you, calling you to grow in a new way but your fear is in the way?  I must credit the wonderful Shelly Terrell and her incredible work for inspiring me to take on new opportunities to share and grow. After watching my plea, feel free to share any comments, advice, and what you might be inspired to do with the support of your PLN. Thanks so much!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Quieting the Noise

I love my learning, sharing and connecting online. Truly, I do. But I have realized lately that there is an addictive part of me(besides the chocolate and coffee addictions ;-) ) that drives me like a rat in a maze to check and see if I have missed, "the big cheese." I often find myself checking Twitter and Facebook in a cycle,walking away because I know I have other things to do, yet boomeranging back on in minutes to check for updates. It's like leaving a party when you sense something big is about to happen, yet you feel compelled to stay so you don't miss "the greatest part" that people will be talking about forever.
I guess it's always about balance, isn't it? With my husband and I often sitting here, parallel tweeting about our own yet often intersecting domains of interest and passion, I look forward to the moments when we step away from the electronic devices and talk live, face to face about what we are pondering.
We got into a deep conversation this morning about how our culture promotes such noise, such distraction that we often forget to get quiet and listen to ourselves. It makes me sad and wonder how our kids will know how to do this if the adults aren't practicing it.Although I didn't see my parents really get away, stop and reflect, I had lots of free time, as a kid, to ride my bike, wander into the forest with my siblings,and imagine. When my kids were young,they spent hours trading off and negotiating whose activity choice would be next. Would it be building amazing lego creations, competing in monopoly and scrabble marathons,or in summer, building sandcastles at the beach? As a single parent I did not have the money to send them to "camp" and busy them with lessons for this and that. I often felt guilty, though now, seeing how they have grown up, I am more grateful than anything else that they had many opportunities to plan and entertain themselves.
It's wonderful to be connected to the world out there,learning and building relationships with folks all over the world. I appreciate the value of sharing with all of my new friends. ( Yes, I consider them friends as we discuss a multitude of professional and personal topics) Yet I also know that I lose myself at times; I forget to stop and listen, create, revive and connect with the parts of me that need space to grow.
I surely can't be the only one battling these thoughts. How do you keep the balance? Let's share and learn from each other.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Viktor Frankl: Why to believe in others | Video on TED.com

I watched this video clip this morning, unaware of the tears it would bring to my eyes. I had read Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning in high school and had even written an essay for a contest. His experiences surviving the Holocaust and his insights into the true reasons we are here struck a chord even in a naive 17 year old girl. Now with many life experiences behind me, I appreciate even more this incredible man. Watch for yourself; it will be less than 5 minutes that will transform your day and open your mind.

Viktor Frankl: Why to believe in others | Video on TED.com