Random Acts of Kindness #Honor17

Friday, March 9, 2018

There is always time in your day to spread a little more kindness in the world.
Check out these inspiring random acts of kindness cards in honor of the 17 lost lives from the Stoneman Douglas shooting created by Honor17Journey. I think it is a great way to honor their memory and put a little more happiness in the world. It will not only put a smile on the person you are being kind to, but also it will put a smile on your face too!

Here are some simple ideas from RandomActsofKindness.org on how to spread some kindness today:
  1. Pay it Backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
  2. Compliment the first three people you talk to today.
  3. Send a positive text message to five different people right now.
  4. Post inspirational sticky notes around your neighborhood, office, school, etc.
  5. Tell someone they dropped a dollar (even though they didn’t). Then give them a dollar.
  6. Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter.
  7. Say hi to the person next to you on the elevator.
  8. Surprise a neighbor with freshly baked cookies or treats!
  9. Let someone go in front of you in line who only has a few items.
  10. Leave a gas gift card at a gas pump.
  11. Throw a party to celebrate someone just for being who they are, which is awesome.
  12. Have a LinkedIn account? Write a recommendation for coworker or connection.
  13. Leave quarters at the laundromat.
  14. Encounter someone in customer service who is especially kind? Take an extra five minutes to tell their manager.
  15. Leave unused coupons next to corresponding products in the grocery store.
  16. Leave a note on someone’s car telling them how awesome they parked.
  17. Try to make sure every person in a group conversation feels included.
  18. Write a kind message on your mirror with a dry erase marker for yourself, your significant other or a family member.
  19. Place a positive body image notes in jean pockets at a department store.
  20. Smile at five strangers.
  21. Set an alarm on your phone to go off at three different times during the day. In those moments, do something kind for someone else.
  22. Send a gratitude email to a coworker who deserves more recognition.
  23. Practice self-kindness and spend 30 minutes doing something you love today.
  24. Give away stuff for free on Craig’s List.
  25. Write a gratitude list in the morning and again in the evening.
  26. Know parents who could use a night out? Offer to babysit for free.
  27. Hold up positive signs for traffic or in a park for people exercising outside!
  28. Return shopping carts for people at the grocery store.
  29. Buy a plant. Put it in a terracotta pot. Write positive words that describe a friend on the pot. Give it to that friend!
  30. Write a positive comment on your favorite blog, website, or a friend’s social media account.
  31. Have a clean up party at a beach or park.
  32. While you’re out, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
  33. Leave a kind server the biggest tip you can afford.
  34. When you’re throwing something away on the street, pick up any litter around you and put that in the trash too.
  35. Pay the toll for the person behind you.
  36. Put 50 paper hearts in a box. On each cutout write something that is special about your partner or a friend. Give them the box and tell them to pull out a heart anytime they need a pick-me-up.
  37. Everyone is important. Learn the names of your office security guard, the person at the front desk and other people you see every day. Greet them by name. Also say “hello” to strangers and smile. These acts of kindness are so easy, and they almost always make people smile.
  38. Write your partner a list of things you love about them.
  39. Purchase extra dog or cat food and bring it to an animal shelter.
  40. Find opportunities to give compliments. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could make someone’s entire day. Don’t just think it. Say it.
  41. Take flowers or treats to the nurses’ station at your nearest hospital.
  42. Keep an extra umbrella at work, so you can lend it out when it rains.
  43. Send a ‘Thank you’ card or note to the officers at your local police or fire station.
  44. Take muffins or cookies to your local librarians.
  45. Run an errand for a family member who is busy.
  46. Leave a box of goodies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
  47. Tape coins around a playground for kids to find.
  48. Put your phone away while in the company of others.
  49. Email or write to a former teacher who made a difference in your life.
  50. When you hear that discouraging voice in your head, tell yourself something positive — you deserve kindness too!  
  51. Thank a teacher for her hard work!! (I added this one) ;)

Check out RandomActsofKindness.org for even more ideas, lesson plans, and posters on how to spread kindness in the classroom, and its FREE!!!!

Coping with the tragedy of the Stoneman Douglas School shooting

Saturday, February 17, 2018

My heart is heavy after the tragic events that occurred this past week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, about 8 miles from my house. I can not believe this happened in our community, and I know so many people feel the same.

I think the hardest part for me is the feeling of being helpless. We can go to active shooter training's (which we did this past year in Broward County), we can lock our classrooms doors, we can look for warning signs and red flags, but in the end it all comes down to a lost soul with a gun and whether or not they choose your school or not. I counter that helpless feeling by focusing on what I can control. Here are a few tips for working with students but also they are helpful for us adults too.

1. Talk about it.
Tell your story of what you went through. It will be hard, there will be tears, anger, survivor guilt, confusion, sadness, but you have to get it out. Holding it in is another way of letting the pain fester until it gets so bad you will explode. Get it out, experience all of the emotions so that at some point,  you will be able to move on. You will move on, it seems impossible now, but eventually your life will go back to its semi-normal routine...but you will forever have a new lens to see life through. My friend, Jennifer Shapiro, an Art Teacher at South Broward High had her students write thoughtful messages during class.

2. Go back to your routine.
When a traumatic experience happens, we expect normal life to stop. How can we continue the same way after this? Because you have to. Because if you don't, fear wins. We have to overcome and have courage to go back to school/work, get back to our routine. It will be hard at first, it will feel strange, but eventually the routine will help you feel safe again.
These signs were created by local students and put in our neighborhood's mailboxes to show support for #MSDstrong

3. Limit how much you are watching the news on this topic.
When it first happened, I was GLUED to the television and social media posts about the shooting. After 2 days of watching non-stop for updates, I realized it was making it worse. You need to feel the sadness and all the emotions that this event created, but re-playing it over and over like the news does is not healthy. You can not move on with your life if you continue to be engrossed in it. You are not honoring the beautiful souls that were lost by making yourself depressed.

4. Focus on the helpers. 
One of my favorite quotes is by Mr. Rogers:“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Look at the helpers, they will reestablish your faith in humanity. Coach Aaron Feis died shielding students from gunfire, Chris Hixon died rushing towards the gunfire to help, Scott Beigel died letting students into his classroom to save them from gunfire, Peter Wang died holding the door for students rushing out of the building to safety. There were countless police and paramedics who rushed to help as well. There is so much good in the world, don't let the hate pull you down. Focus on the amazing heroes that gave up their lives to protect and save others.

5. Write/call your state representatives.
If you have ideas of how to make your school safer, share it with your elected officials. Be an agent of change for your community, advocate for those changes. Their contact information is public, find it and call them, write them, use social media, get your voice heard. Even better, grow up to become an elected official and help make those changes a reality. You are the future.

There are many views out there on just how to make schools safer, here is one idea that I think could significantly save lives and even better PREVENT shooters from viewing schools as an easy target. It is an active shooter defense system created by Mythic Software. The system allows for a single user to lock-down the entire campus, alert authorities, and communicate information all within seconds of a event occurring. To view the threat defense system click here: Project ICARUS.
ICARUS Campus Defense System

New School Year, New office decor

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ok so I have a confession, I am obsessed with quotes! I love to pin them on pinterest and they are all over my office in posters. So I decided to create a Watercolor themed Office Decor poster set! It  comes with 25 inspirational posters, 4 character certificates, note from the counselor, pass to see the counselor, confidentiality sign, and Where is the counselor? sign (use a paperclip to designate where you are on the sign). Hope you like it :)

Walk in my Sneakers; lesson on empathy

Saturday, September 3, 2016
Empathy is an important topic for kids, especially with the growing focus on social and emotional learning. I created this lesson to have a fun and engaging way to practice different scenarios with kids to really get them to think about how it feels to be in the other person's shoes. 

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