Saturday, May 28, 2016

Barefoot Badminton & Exploring the Idea of Earthing

After a very rainy-season springtime, with less than stellar temperatures, a rash of 3-4 sunny days of glorious temperature (in a row!) is down right nirvana.  Earlier this week, at school we had a half day "Hump Day," which developed into an afternoon of boy-bonding with my son.  We wrapped up the evening with a riveting game of backyard badminton.  Based on the way we played, badminton is would never be considered an Olympic sport at this house!

We giggled as our birdie flew every which way but the right direction.
My son was much more of a diver than me.  By the time we were done, his knees were grass-stained-green, and the bottoms of both of our bare feet were were far from flesh-colored at this point.

Sitting at the back patio table, I found myself contemplating the day. It made for a nice time and place to reflect upon our afternoon, watching the dusky sunset begin its blanketing descent.

It also got me thinking of some some of the Shawn Stevenson Model Health Show Podcasts I've listened to lately where Shawn discusses the concept of "Earthing." This of course, further reminded my copy of Richard Louv's "Vitamin N" that I'm eager to dive back into after report card writing season is over.

"Earthing" or "Grounding" is simply defined by reconnecting to the Earth's energy by way of bare feet. The benefits are many:

These two videos below further help simplify the many reasons why Earthing has so many positive effects, and it helps you grasp the idea of grounding.  (Of course, I'm chuckling at the irony here this eve given that my husband was wrestling with ceiling fan electrical issues and the house's grounding wire while I was pondering the Earthing version of order to help us all feel more "grounded!")

What is Earthing? from

Earthing/Grounding by Dr. Laura Koniver, MD (The Intuition Physician)

To further your own investigations of Earthing, check out these links.  Then, go take off your shoes, and let the crisp spring grass tickle your toes and reconnect you to the Earth!  Or better yet, make a badminton date of your own!

Images from, and video from; Dr. Laura Koniver's video from

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MidMonth #Climate Manifesto: 10 Year Anniversary of "An Inconvenient Truth" #AIT10

What were you doing 10 years ago?

(Here's the part where we all start doing our own historic, personal & mental math, figuring out just exactly where we were and what we were doing, way back when.  And hopefully it is NOT a scene similar to the one from the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally when Billy Crystal [in an attempt to make conversation] asked his young girlfriend where she was when Kennedy was shot, and the pretty young thing answered, "Ted Kennedy was shot?")

So, 10 years ago = 2006.

10 years ago yesterday (May 24th), An Inconvenient Truth came out.  For those of us who lived through the "dangling chad" era of the Bush-Gore Election of 2000, An Inconvenient Truth brought a new light to politics and to Al Gore himself, 6 years later. Seen more as an intellectual than an a fallen future president, Al Gore and his image instantly turned (with the tables) with this movie alone.  Well, at least for those of us in the environmental sphere. "Al Gore for the Win!"...regardless of presidential status.

Given all of this, history leads to hashtags this week as #ait10 is sweeping the Twitter-waves.  Take Action has inspired this hashtag along with the invitation to share our story of our memories and how this pivotal film has hit us--both then and now.
“In this 10th-anniversary year of the release of the film, I am proud of the progress we have made. Solutions are now within reach. But more than ever, there is no time to waste. We must bring these solutions to every corner of the globe.”— Jeff Skoll, founder and chairman of Participant Media and executive producer of An Inconvenient Truth
Here is a good place to follow up on #ait10 and see some pretty amazing video commentary.  Some of the featured speakers:
  • Jordan Howard, Jordan Howard, activist, Social Goods Strategist
  • Ed Begley Jr., actor and environmentalist
  • Bill McKibben, founder,
  • David Suzuki, cofounder, David Suzuki Foundation
  • Michael Brune, executive director, Sierra Club
  • Tara Deporte, founder and executive director, The Human Impacts Inst.
  • Lilly Belanger, program director, No Impact Project
  • Davis Guggenheim, director, 'An Inconvenient Truth'
  • Gregg Renfrew, founder, Beautycounter
  • Nancy Pochis Banks, artist
  • and more!
I love watching these commentaries and how this movie impacted each of these individuals.  You see the birth of activism.  It's empowering.  It's what we need.  People being strong, believing in "whatever" it is that they believe in.  It gives passion and purpose to people.  It moves you to be moved.

I am only sad that we are still arguing the existance.  Dan Gutman, children's author and novelist, put it poignantly the other day on Twitter:

Seriously, people.  On the spectrum, what's more important? Our existence or which bathroom we use.  And let's just make sure we are washing our hands, regardless of which bathroom we use!

On this 10 year anniversary, I re-watched An Inconvenient Truth... it's probably my 3rd or 4th viewing ever--but it's certainly been awhile.  Seemed like the reflective thing to do, here, 10 years later.  Again, my eyes opened, and again I pondered... so what if we are wrong,, and the worst case scenario is that we improve our planet. OMG! What if we improve the planet!!?!

For those of you who haven't seen it in 10 years....or forever, you can find it at Amazon and you can rent the DVD at Netflix.  I'm sure you can happen upon it elsewhere as well.

If you're like me, and you can't quite get enough, as it feels like it just propels you to become one with the Earth and your own inner activist, go forth and check out these TED Talks:
Images from;; Dan Gutman screenshot from

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Eyes & Ears Still in Awe of Prince EA

Because I just can't seem to get enough from Prince Ea.

And because he seems to be everywhere I turn:
Seems fitting here on a "all report card writing kind of weekend."  A lot of "need to do," and not as much true on, spot on living.  Need to change that up!! With the weight of the report cards off, I think it might just be able to happen, this next wkend ahead!!

What "One Song" are you going to sing this week?

Prince Ea's video from; image from

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Graduation, Reflection, & Speech Writing-- The End Is Near

My 5th Grade students are writing their graduation speeches this week. Promotion. Moving on. The passing of the torch. They are readying to leave us and our campus this year... Next year they will be going forth to our Middle School campus, on to new adventures, and on to new experiences.

While they are gearing up to do that, a dozen days before the end of this school year, I am reading through 18 speeches.

It is during this time that I am reminded of the school year we all enduring, and the history of the last 9-10 months. I'm struck by a lot of memories my students are sharing, the ones we have all enjoyed. I know that there are most certainly a lot of personalities in this class of mine... and I have enjoyed watching them blossom as we have been growing together through the year.

I have also learned a little bit about me through this whole "5th Grade thing". When I started this year, I never thought I would be teaching 5th Grade. My plans were to teach Technology and be "The iPad Lady," Everyone loves the iPad Lady.  I remember the call I got from Head in the middle of August saying "I'm really hoping you'll do me a favor." I thought she wanted me to make a PowerPoint for the back to school meetings!  She didn't.  It was a tad bigger than that. Instead, she asked me to start teaching the Fifth Grade class due to a teacher going on leave.  Little did I know where this would take me.

Initially I thought it would be for 2 weeks.. 5 weeks... maybe even 12 weeks.  It was more.

And more, it certainly was.

I think this year has taught me, more than anything, that life is what happens when you're busy planning for one thing that happen, but then something completely different happens.

So... I became a Fifth Grade teacher. At first for the short term. Then for the long term.

In doing so, I opened my heart to these 18 people in my class who are so full of energy, humor, vim, vigor, and zest. Sometimes they make me crazy.  But I would guess that probably the reverse is true. No matter what, I think we have learned a lot from each other, and I think maybe... perhaps... We have had fun along the way.

Maybe the truest question is:  who has learned more? Them? Me? It's potentially a toss up!

These 18 students of mine are sitting at the crossroads of Elementary School and Middle School. The 3 months of summer is what separates them from being the "big man on campus" and the "new kid on the block." As they transition between the old and the new, my students will indeed graduate from being assured of where they are in 5th grade at the Lower School campus.... to being at the doorway of a new place, as a new face, of Middle School.  But my students bring with them every bit of who they are and where they have been.  They bring with them an understanding of "Yes! I can do this."

They are strong... they will persevere... and they will take this new adventure by storm! I know them, all 18 of them. Therefore, I know it is true!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Discussing Design & Making the Most of MakerSpaces

Last Saturday I was at an all day educational leadership workshop entitled "Composing Our Symphony."  To a degree, that's how it works for us teachers: workshops on the weekends.  It is then that teachers give up their time, in pursuit of furthering their craft.  Teachers exchange leisure time and family time in order to NOT have to write up sub plans. It's THAT big of a deal to write sub plans! Yet interestingly, in most fields, workshops are NOT on weekends, and sub plans are NOT a necessity. This falls in the category of "one of the many things most people probably haven't got a clue about teachers!"  We give up our weekends, our family time, and sometimes even our evenings, all in the pursuit of our own love of learning and perfecting what it is we do in the classroom.

Given all of that:  It was a great day of learning, fellowship, and a community of educators.

It usually is!

The common thread during our day o'learning and our two sessions plus keynote that I attended was "design."
Keynote Speaker Sean McComb, 2014 National Teacher of the Year, closed the conference by speaking about about designing a life & career based on passion and purpose.  You could feel in his passion how it was he was awarded that accolade.  Most certainly well deserved!

Silvia Mata Marin opened the conference by speaking on her role as a graphic designer who focuses on "Social Design."  What is Social Design?  we didn't know either, until Silvia eloquently spoke on how it is the combination of collaboration, & creativity of people, places, problems and projects in order to bring about social change and social justice.  She was impassioned (and rightfully so) about the central American immigration process of unaccompanied minors to America.

And I spoke...there in the middle.  Making the Most of the Maker Movement. Discussing the design process, sharing the current trend of DIY 2.0.  High Tech, low tech, no tech.  It's the way hands-on teachers have been designing their classrooms for eons.  But, at its center, is the design process.

Hence the trifecta of our design day.  Which probably was a happy accident, inadvertently by design. But certainly the way in which we all "Compose a Symphony."

As a speaker, it was certainly the largest crowd I'd ever had, at maybe 80 people.  People laughed at my jokes (in the right places--which always feels like a "win" in the middle of presentation).  The 2 secrets of my success: Quin, and the snippet/trailer from Maker: A Documentary on The Maker Movement, both below!

Circling back, I again hold true to the idea that it is through innovation that we will be able to heal our planet and solve our collective problems (environmental and otherwise).  Given that, we must work to encourage and urge our students to become creative problem solvers. It is through being tinkerers and innovators that they will unlock the problems we are facing, fixing them, making our world a better place!

It doesn't happen accidentally:  we need to design it!

Images from:;  Videos from:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Prince EA to the Rescue Again: "Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?"

Most of us have seen one or both of these Einstein quotes as they have made their rounds around Facebook and beyond.
As plugged in as we have all become, many feel that Einstein 
predicted it all, long before now.  Here, in fact, are the stats:

I've written about my own love-hate relationship with technology before.
Here, here, and here.

I return back to my new favorite, Prince EA.  He'd also be Team Einstein on this one, tackling the question:  "Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?"  Makes you want to go and check yourself and your own addictions, doesn't it.

For the wealth of all that is Prince EA, check out his expansive YouTube Channel. Another great place to find him is over at the Shawn Stevenson's Model Health Show.

Then...go put your phone, iPad, computer, device down, and go be real... go look up... go be where you are, without recording or photographing it. Take advantage of your low batteries to recharge your own battery!!

Video from; Photos from

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day: Past, Present & Future

Cheers today, to all the mothers out there.

The ones who have little ones to hold.  The ones who maybe are celebrating their first Mother's Day. The ones who are celebrating their own mothers.  The ones who are celebrating the mothers or even the children they have loved and lost. The ones who have never had their own children, but are indeed mothers in their hearts in so many ways to other people's children.

In honor of Mother's Day and the beauty of the sun and love that abounds, here are 3 videos and a bounty of love to celebrate Mother's Days of the Past, the Present, and the Future!

Past:  Get the historic low down on why we celebrate Mother's Day!

Present: Be present today. That IS the best present. Go outdoors and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature. Bask in the beauty of the day & honor all that is central to all mother-kind!

Future:  To all the kids out there today--may your Mom help you be all you can be in the future!

images from
videos from: Past:;

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Prince Ea's "Man vs Earth"

I think I have found my new modern-day superhero. His name is Prince Ea. His focus: to bring wisdom to words, peace through poetry, magic through music-filled imagry, and radical change through inspirational rapping.

In 2009 he founded an organization called “Make SMART Cool,” where SMART stands for "Sophisticating Millions and Revolutionizing Thought." Its goal: to promote positive social change in a myriad of ways through events, speaking engagements, performances and more.

Here's his "Man vs Earth" video, which speaks volumes and details his connection with

To learn more about Prince Ea, check out his website.

Video from, image from