Friday, May 7, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Door Decoration Ideas

For Teacher Appreciation Door Decoration Ideas head on over to the "Everything In Between" link at the right.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Letter Tiles

If you are looking for ideas on reviewing spelling words with your children, you may want to consider recycling an old game and letting your children play at spelling. If you'd like to know more, check out my Early Literacy file on the right.

Chocolate Milk Shake

One thing I have noticed when planning my lessons for the children is that I have to be relaxed, motivated and inspired! For some reason, a bit of a treat seems to set me in the right mood. However, that very much contradicts with my desire to live HEALTHILY! Soooooo, after much experimentation, I have come up with some intriguing treats that carry little or no guilt. The first one I'd like to share with you is my yummy, guilt-free chocolate banana shake. If you like chocolate milk shakes, you will love this! Check it out in my "Yummy, Healthy Food" file on the right.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Praise Junkies

I grew up in during the "Self Esteem" revolution. It seems that society went through a very significant change when someone decided that every child needed to have a healthy self esteem. This was to be established through elaborate compliments, the elimination of competition, and no more weigh-ins at Gym Class. I recall one school district even omitting Gym because it was humiliating for some students to have to run, do sit-ups, play dodge ball and the such, and it would not be healthy for their self esteem. I remember in the early 90's teaching my own children that they were VIP's (Very Important Persons-a huge catch phrase for the day).

Now, we are seeing some of the effects of such gushiness. I recently read an interesting article which addresses some intriguing findings from a recent study. It appears that all that "Junk Praise" actually results in children who perform below their abilities. Easy praise, gotten with little effort, caused the children to put little effort into their work, causing them to be less successful, which in turn, causes them to feel less about themselves.

I am a nut about nutrition. I enjoy junk food. It's easy to eat, easy to enjoy, etc, etc. But it is soooo bad for your health. In the long run, that enjoyment is overcome by a sluggish energy level, clothes that don't fit and pre-diabetes. I love REAL FOOD! Fresh food! Whole Food! It is a little harder to come by, a little harder to prepare, but in the end I am better for it. I guess the same goes for compliments. Children need REAL COMPLIMENTS! Not the pansy "Wow! You are absolutely amazing and super smart" (even though you only scored 2 out of 10 on the spelling test). An honest compliment, apparently, leads a child to act smarter, try harder and perform better. That kind of praise is referred to as "Process Praise." Here is an example: "You must have worked really hard at this" rather than "You must be smart at this." It's a subtle difference, but Process Praise is praising what they actually did, not who they are. Sounds scary for someone who truly believes that everyone is absolutely wonderful. But for some reason, being constantly told that you are smart, beautiful, amazing, causes children to not try so hard. Recognizing their efforts HONESTLY some how causes them to perform better. S0, perhaps we should cut down on the Junk Praise, and go for the good stuff. Are you intrigued? I recommend reading the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck or going to if you'd like to hear more.