Saturday, October 29, 2016

Not Your Typical Halloween Costume: TrashMe

Despite the fact that we are here on the cusp of Halloween, and despite the fact that this outfit looks like a costume, this outfit and this post aren't really about what to wear while trick-or-treating.  \(Though, I will say, you would certainly get a lot of looks if you were to wear this!)

Rob Greenfield decided to go on an epic adventure in New York City, which definitely won't help him get lost in the crowd.  For 30 days (Starting Sept. 19th, 2016), Rob decided to take on every piece of trash he was offered, he encountered, he created, or was tied to something he consumed.  Given that the average American creates 4.5 pounds of trash per day, this could get heavy! 135 pounds in fact, mathematically!  That amount of weight would make everyone think twice about consumption and diet!

Just watch:

Now granted, Rob isn't your typical New Yorker, nor is he your typical run-of-the-mill guy, as a matter of fact. He's a self proclaimed "adventurer, environmental activist, humanitarian, and dude making a difference."  He created "The Food Waste Fiasco" campaign to bring awareness to food & hunger. While on that brigade, he was known to dive in a dumpster or two to showcase the usable food that's going to waste. He's biked across America twice to raise awareness towards living sustainability. He's significantly limited himself to just over 100 possessions to show frugal living is a happier lifestyle than having all the "stuff."  He's done a number of TED talks and written the book "Dude Making a Difference." Doing dramatic things like wearing a month's worth of trash is exactly the kind of thing that Rob likes to do to highlight our regular actions that we all take for granted.

In 2018, Rob's suit-o'trash will be on display at the busiest US airport: the Atlanta International Airport.

To learn more about Rob Greenfield's adventures, check out his webpage.  While you are doing so, ask yourself: "What big and small differences can I make now."  While you are there, contemplating the changes you can make, ask yourself "WWRD: What would Rob do?"  You don't need to go quite to those extremes, but imagine how our mindset would change if we saw Rob (or some neighborhood kids) walking door to door this Halloween in this attire.  It might make us change our minds indeed!

Reminds me of a Halloween costume I once had. But only for a day!

Video from, image from, Capri Sun dress image from

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Get Outdoors: Find Some Fall Fests

There's nothing like a gorgeous fall day and a well-placed festival to really have you embrace the great outdoors and enjoy the changing of the seasons. Especially here at the last weekend before Halloween, there are plenty of pumpkin places still out there.

We did just that about a week and a half ago. We visited Maryland's Sunrise Farm in Gambrills for an amazing corn maze, hay rides, and fun for the little ones. Especially fun was the tie-in to the 50 year anniversary of "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown".

Of course, my grand favorite of all is Arthur, Illinois' The Great Pumpkin Patch, which I've written about before.  If you are ever in that neck of the woods, be sure to stop by!  You'll be so glad you did!

But, no matter what your locale, you'll be sure to find one, just a quick Google search away!  It's a great way to get some Vitamin N: Nature and cure any indoor blues you might have from Nature Deficit Disorder!

All pictures from my camera.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Nonpartisan Election Classroom Resources

The Election is a hot topic this political season.  Emotions are high both for and against our 2 major candidates, & daily news calls to conversation a litany of character traits... most of which are NOT rated G or PG.

Many teachers want to stay the heck away from all of that potentially explosive commentary, especially when most kids (especially in elementary schools) tend to have the same political opinions as their parents, sentiments they glean from home.

At our school, we are approaching the election as neutrally as possible, with each grade level taking a governmental (versus political) approach, and we are definitely steering clear of analysis of who is actually running!

Our basic approach looks like this, bringing in activities and research on each theme:

  • PreK-Kindergarten:  Introduction to voting
  • 1st Grade:  The voting process and campaigning through naming class mascots and book characters
  • 2nd Grade: Letters to future leaders about the issues that are important to the students
  • 3rd Grade: Voting is a civic responsibility, voter turn out, and the characteristics of a good citizen
  • 4th Grade: The Electoral College and the math associated with it
  • 5th Grade: Voting around the world and women's suffrage in the USA

Here are just a few resources that may be vital in these last few weeks to help round out the final countdown and give you a little inspiration this political season.

Images from

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Destination Imagination's Amazing Invention Photo Challenge

It's always a beautiful day when imagination, innovation, and environmentalism weave themselves together. Thank you Destination Imagination for creating "The Amazing Invention Photo Challenge," a project inspired by the new Disney film "Moana" (which comes out November 23, 2016)

But mark your calendars, because you only have the 10 days between October 17--27th to get your creative juices flowing!

Destination Imagination (or DI, for short) is a global organization for students who's vision is "to teach students the creative process and empower them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world." They do this by creating school groups with facilitators/team leaders who provide both instant challenges and broader thematic challenges for a team of students to work through and creatively solve together.

You can see why DI is inspired to challenge us, but how does Moana fit in? This DI challenge is meant to inspire kids to use the same ingenuity and cleverness of the newest Disney's character Moana. They want to spark kids' creativity by having them invent a toy-sized vehicle to lead that toy of their own on a grand adventure. Moana will do just that in the movie, embarking through lush natural wildlife that needs to be preserved. Given that, there's an environmental-awareness catch: the invention needs to be made entirely out of recyclables. This video details it beautifully!

Reminder: The contest is open for only 10 days!!  October 17th--27th, 2016.

Inventions will be judged on each of these 3 categories, for up to 20 points each (60 total):
  • Overall creativity 
  • Creative use of recycled/repurposed materials (up to 20 points).
  • Creativity of your invention's name
 To learn more here are some of the places to investigate:

More about Destination Imagination through their mission statement:
"To develop opportunities that inspire the global community of learners to utilize diverse approaches in applying 21st century skills and creativity.  The Destination Imagination program is a fun, hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended academic Challenges in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), fine arts and service learning. Our participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams may showcase their solutions at a tournament."

Video and image from

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Waking Up at #Wanderlust

Two weeks ago, I had a day o'play. It was well-timed after being a single mom for a week while my husband was away at a conference. I needed a sweet day for me after holding down the fort while my husband was hunkered down at a swanky hotel.

My day came in the form of Wanderlust 108 DC.

After first hearing about Wanderlust from the Lewis Howes' School of Greatness podcast, I did what I often do--a little more digging via the Internet.  As exotic and wonderful as the 3-4 day retreats sound, I felt a quick jaunt down to neighboring DC for a one-day "Mindfulness Triathlon" might be more in my budget. So, I got up early, thanked the Weather Gods that no rain was in store after 2 straight days previously of rain, grabbed my yoga mat, and hit the road heading south to DC and RFK Stadium.

By 10 am, I already had 10K steps under my belt from completing the 5K portion of the triathlon. No, I didn't run, but it didn't matter. What followed was an hour of barefoot yoga, which indeed stretched me beyond my limits--in good ways. Seeing the sea of participants was rather inspiring! Part 3 of the triathlon was a guided meditation--just as the sun began peeking through the cloud cover.  I think our sun salutations worked!

Meandering about, checking out the shopping and health food booths brought in the flavor of the festival.  Not to mention, it's always glorious spending the day outside.  Additionally, the spirit of adventure filled the afternoon with half-hour workshops of specialized yoga such as aerial, acro, hooping, slacklining and more.  I got to be in touch with my inner "Cirque de Soleil" by flipping upside down in the aerial slings, and I got to reminisce about my days as a first grade hula hooper during the hooping activity. All freeing, relaxing, and leaving me smiling (and perhaps a bit sweaty) at the end of the day.

As I had been driving in, I'd been listening to another Lewis Howes' School of Greatness podcast episode, #385: The Art and Science of Epic Adventure with Jon Levy about going forward and having an adventure. How perfectly timed, and indeed I did.

All of my activities that day definitely emphasized the point that yes indeed, adventure and new experiences are great for the mind, body, and spirit. We become so coaxed by our routines, we forget.

Let us remember to remember. Likewise, let us wonder and wander!

PicCollage photo a collection of my photos, as was the Wanderlust banner to begin with.  The other two photos came from the Wanderlust 108 Facebook page of DC photos

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

International day of the Girl 2016

With International Day of the Girl yesterday (and a whole boatload of political noise about women.

Last week here in the US), it only seems fitting that this week was "International Day of the Girl."

Here is a nice collection of stats, proving that you are indeed on top of the world if you are here, and though you women face challenges, our perseverance will take us far!!


Video from; Image from and

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Making It Real & "Harnessing Our Nerdiness" With Mayim Bialik

I think this Mayim Bialik vlog  about being "geek chic" and being different is poignant.  ("Vlog" for anyone who is unsure, is the mashup for "video blog."  Of course, if you're a bit of a geek chic, tech-head like me, you already knew that)

Amy Farra Fowler's... er, I mean... Mayim's audience is largely for teens.  However, I think anyone who watches & gets "Big Bang Theory" was probably the kind of kid who might have had different interests, or been a little bit quirky, when they were younger.

I like to say that being quirky is part of my effervescent charm!

Steve Jobs and the technology and innovation industries have indeed made it great to be a bit nerdy. Along with the tech-inspirers of the last decade, this video does a wonderful job of helping everyone who might be a little unique to feel a little more comfortable in our own skin.  It also helps inspire us (and our children) that all those STEAM subjects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math are what can drive us to our passions.  It is through those passions and innovating that we are going to make the world a better place! And that starts by embracing our inner greatness, and knowing it's okay to be different and true to ourselves.

Video from, image from

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Shout Out to Sprout: The Plantable Pencil

Graveyard-destined pencils:

We've all seen them. Parents have, adults have, kids have... but teachers probably have the most. The stubbiest little pencil that leave you wondering why on Earth that kid is even still using them. But, for whatever reason, kids love them, and hold on to them until you can sneak them away, for always and forever.

What if you could bring new life to that li'l guy?

Sprout is a company that is all about doing just that. Created by 3 MIT students who were given the task to “design the sustainable office article of tomorrow,” the plantable pencil was born. They are bringing sustainability to this classroom classic consumable, by having their pencils pocket a seed inside.  When the pencil is ready to move on, it literally can be buried in your backyard garden or planter.  Pencils are labeled with what their ultimate harvest will be. They have a flower, herb, and vegetable variety of regular pencils, as well as a colored pencil set too.

These two videos will you you some shout outs about the ins & outs of Sprout!

Pencil image from; videos from and