Journal, Teacher Tips

What If?


I teach an online course for future teachers in a master’s degree program. I was grading journal post last night when I read a student’s journal entry detailing her fears about interacting (or failure to interact) with parents. She was candid in describing possible scenarios. “What if a parent had a horrible school experience and hates teachers?” “What if the family doesn’t value education?” “What if I don’t make a good impression?” “What if I cannot connect with them at all?”

I asked myself, “What if I give her the wrong advice?” I found myself falling into the trap of fear and doubt that she carried. I’m a veteran teacher with 20 years experience dealing with parents. I know better. I know that being my authentic self is all I can be, and it’s good enough. I love teaching, and this student is obviously worrying herself sick over ‘what ifs.’ Her anxiety was reaching toxic levels. I thought about the most honest and heartfelt (hopefully helpful) advice I could give her. I told her to highlight the student’s strengths. I encouraged her to send notes home with the child

to report effort, acts of kindness, and any improvement. They send a clear message that you are noticing their child’s growth, and you care about their child. It will help build a bridge that may undo preconceived notions about the teacher or the school. This is crucial if they’ve lived their life with negative memories of a bad experience. A student that goes home happy and feeling supported is bound to share that with their parents. A teacher’s job is to make sure they get to know their students, let them know you value them for who they are.

Too often parents are not part of a student’s support team. That is a signal that the teacher needs to give even more of their heart and time to that student.

It’s good to give a glance at the what ifs, but more important is to be proactive in how you will connect with your students. What if you make a real difference? What if the parents want to decide to become involved? What if that student remembers you all their life?


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Children's Books, Literacy Resources and Children's Books

Relatable Books For Children

A good book can spark imagination, teach us, and take us on a journey.

I love to share resources for children by topic. Kindly share with me if you have collections of special interest and I will add them. 😉 Teaching children to read and to Love reading is my passion.


We have all had a lousy day. Relatable text is important for children to make text-to-life connections.


Lucy is teased for being different. She finds courage to be herself.


This book helps children learn our fears are greatly exaggerated.



“No more carrots, fruit or peas, I’m going to live with dog family!” says a little girl who’s had enough of her parents forcing her to eat her dinner. But what if life with the dogs isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? “Dog Family” is a loveable story about one little girl’s adventure as she discovers the importance of family love.

CAUTION: FOR OLDER STUDENTS

The powerful, unforgettable graphic memoir from Jarrett Krosoczka, about growing up with a drug-addicted mother, a missing father, and two unforgettably opinionated grandparents.In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka’s teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett’s family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett’s life. His father is a mystery — Jarrett doesn’t know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents — two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what’s going on. Only as a teenager can Jarrett begin to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father. Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive.



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Book Recommendations

Thoughts in Our Head

I am bombarded with thoughts, a steady stream of reactions, opinions, and what ifs. Some are helpful, some are not. After I read Emotional Agility by Susan David, I realized that what I needed was to be aware of how the negative thoughts do not serve me or align with my values. How did I get to my age and not internalize this? My runaway thoughts have caused misunderstandings, mistakes, and regret.

One of my favorite quotes from her book is, “Who is in control; the thinker or the thought?” Such a simple question, but it has the power to pull me into the present moment with a keener insight into how my thoughts can effect my actions. Another quote that I love is, “Don’t believe everything you think.” After I read her book, I subscribed to her newsletter (free). Every so often I will receive a bit of wisdom that reminds me to keep in check. I take a look at my values, what I cherish, the beliefs I hold. It has helped me get centered. In a world that seems upside-down at times, this book was just what I needed.








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Journal

Tradition


One of the pleasures of summer is that I usually travel to visit my darling granddaughters in the UK. I established a tradition of buying new shoes for the girls at my favorite shoe store, Clarks. Once they were able to walk, we would go into a city center to get their feet sized properly. The clerk would take a photo and present it to the parents. I extended the shoe buying to include their parents. There is comfort in knowing that I left them with something useful that plants their feet firmly on the land we all love so much. I love the idea of establishing traditions. It’s my hope that the memories will be a source of joy and that they will continue this tradition or make their own. I can’t wait for our next trip to Clarks.

Quotes about Building a tradition (19 quotes)





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Children's Books, Literacy Resources and Children's Books

Childrens books on character building


In My Friend is Sad, elephant Gerald is down in the dumps. Piggie is determined to cheer him up by dressing as a cowboy, a clown, and even a robot! But what does it take to make a sad elephant happy? The answer will make even pessimistic elephants smile.


Edward has loads of toys but doesn’t share any of them with his little sister, Claire.

“They’re mine!”he says. That is, until one day when Edward finds himself in a predicament. With a little help from an unlikely ally, he learns that if he can share with others, they’ll share right back with him

Mike Reiss’s wickedly funny verse and David Catrow’s remarkable gift for comic illustration make this one book you’ll want to share—again and again!


Ruthie loves little things-the smaller the better. So when she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground one afternoon, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there’s one little problem: It isn’t hers. 


Listening with my heart reminds us of the importance of being friends to ourselves. It also touches on the universal themes of friendship, empathy and kindness. Includes mindfulness and self-compassion activities.


Help kids develop coping strategies to manage frustration and anger.


8 stories help kids see why telling the truth is so important in developing their integrity, and earning respect.


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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Wisdom

I Am a Book Lover

A great book feels like a good hug, the kind that lingers awhile.

I have been reading more in the last 14 months than I ever have. Being the owner of at least fifty books that been collecting dust, I kept promising myself I would use the pandemic as an opportunity to catch up on my reading. I am glad to report that I completed almost every book. Some of the books I read were previously cast aside as not worthy of my time. I hastily concluded that if the first few pages failed to capture my interest, then it would make it to the “to be read” shelf.

Lately I have approached each book on my cast off shelf with a new perspective since I realized how grateful I am to have choices of books to read. There have been a few books that brought me on a journey, several brought me to tears, and most became a blessed escape from current events. I will take that “hug” anytime!

Listed below are powerful books that I read during the height of the pandemic. Some offered hope, others offered escape, they all offered me time with a great book.

A true account of life in unimaginable circumstances as told by a Holocaust survivor. A lesson on what is important.

A guide to finding peace and calm in times of trouble. His book is an easy read and has gems of wisdom throughout.

This book will help you break old habits and build habits that will serve you well.

A beautiful tale of a childless couple in the wilderness of Alaska during the 1920s. The imagery alone makes this a beautiful book. The story is one that will stay with you for awhile.

A tribute to the grit of the women who survived during the Dust Bowl era. As fierce as the winds were during that time, a mother’s love and devotion prevails. A great read from an author who can write an epic with incredible power.

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Journal

Carry On

There have been so many times of uncertainty caused by the global pandemic. Times when it was hard to plan for the future, or even tomorrow. One thing I told myself again and again, ” I will follow guidelines, and I will not put myself or others in danger.” I also worried if I would be able to see love ones, continue my work, plan anything at all. The dread was consuming. I wanted a way to release myself from fear that had a stronghold on me.

l focused on what was important to me. I examined my values. I read books that guided me to align my actions with what would best serve me. Keeping a journal was a valuable tool to chronicle current events as well as my responses to them. I could feel the transformation from hopelessness to resilience. I learned my own strength.

Even five minutes of focusing on a positive affirmation while being mindful of my breathing helped me stay in the moment instead of holding onto beliefs that are in opposition to the kind of life I want. Freedom from fear is not only possible, it is for each of us to choose, work toward and enjoy. I wish you all the very best.






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Journal

I am grateful

I have many reasons to be grateful. It’s been a tough year, but at times I see glimmers of hope that we may all be on the road to living whatever our normal was, only stronger, better, more resilient. A trip to the grocery store, then my favorite cafe took on a new ambiance. I chose to sit outdoors in the sun rather than at my usual booth tucked in the corner. I wanted to see the people walking by, the birds flying past, even the cars on the road. It was affirming to tell the waitress that I appreciate her for serving delicious food. I was happy to shop for my own groceries as I learn to smile with my eyes. Today a lady in the parking lot walked toward me, quickly distanced herself, yet all the while I was happy to be 6 feet from another person. There is no room in my life for taking things for granted. Every day is a gift. I am grateful to wake up, get up, show up, and be ready to give thanks.

8 Ways to Practice Gratitude to Boost Your Wellbeing -

This gratitude journal makes it easy and enjoyable to develop a daily practice through insightful prompts that only take a few minutes to complete. You’ll feel inspired to notice things―big and small―that you might otherwise take for granted and pause to feel grateful for them.





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Book Reviews

Emotional Agility

Susan David’s book Emotional Agility inspired me to write this review.

I knew I would love this book when the author made reference to Dr. Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning. This book takes a candid look at the negative self talk and endless bombardment of thoughts that contribute to our emotional state.  We can choose to tackle or tame them.  Even one negative thought can morph into anger that manifests itself in unintended ways.  There are so many life-changing statements in this book that you will need a highlighter or two and bookmarks to locate the nuggets of truth and guidance when you need it.  The author has a conversational style that makes it an easy read, yet profoundly powerful.  This was my forth and best book purchase of the new year.  Susan David offers advice about “showing up,” learning to tame negative thoughts and practice self-compassion.  This truly remarkable book belongs in everyone’s toolkit.   I have attended, then facilitated Book Circles on this amazing book.  
                             I give it my highest endorsement:   ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Here is the author, Susan David


Image result for emotional agility qotes





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