Childhood Trauma Affects Your Entire Life

Childhood Trauma Affects Your Entire Life

This. This is the piece of the puzzle from my childhood that I've been missing. This. This is the secret I've been hiding behind my smile. This. This is what countless children and adults in every zip code, every corner of your life face while navigating learning, relationships, careers, and even their long-term health.  Exposure to adversity in childhood by trauma or chronic stress actually changes our physiology, affects our brain development, and even alters our body's transcription of DNA. Childhood trauma does NOT just go away as we grow up. As an elementary teacher for fifteen years, yes, I have lived, experienced the hardships trauma and chronic stress cause for a child. I have seen children struggle to learn, battle for impulse-control, toil to maintain friendships, all while suffering tummy aches, headaches, lack of sleep. But that's not the end of their struggle. These children left my classroom, having learned to read and add and subtract.  But what about their tummy aches, headaches, and chronic deprivation of sleep?  What happened to those beautiful...
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Struggling with Your Kids at Home in the Summertime? Help Has Arrived!

Struggling with Your Kids at Home in the Summertime? Help Has Arrived!

Summer, Sweet Summer with My Kids... Yes, like you, summertime has brought my kids back home to me.  The week school ended, I don't know who was more excited for summer break - my two children, their teachers, or me!  Visions of us sleeping in, making homemade pancakes to start our lazy days, and trips to museums, parks, etc. all dancing in our heads. But, two weeks later, fruit snack wrappers littered every end table and coffee table surface, wet towels laying near the towel racks, half-filled cups in bedrooms with none available in the kitchen cabinet for me to use, and both my daughter and son's bedroom carpeting was decorated with the myriad of clothing that somehow just couldn't make it into the dirty laundry basket. Yet my kids' requests kept coming - drop me off at my friend's house, pick me up some new shorts for practice, can we go to the waterpark? I am embarrassed to admit this, but even with...
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Multitasking and Focusing Mistakes

Multitasking and Focusing Mistakes

We, the human race, are not built for this... While skimming the news this week, I read that humans are terrible multitaskers.  It turns out that trying to accomplish more than one thing at a time actually reduces your focus and productivity. And all this time I've been praising myself and others for over-committing our to-do lists and schedules in order to "get it all done".  I guess we've been doing a lot, but not very well! A perfect example of the multitasking myth...You can't get very far sucking your thumb and snuggling a blanket while riding your trike!  Can you really do it all? Research doesn't shine a promising light on the multitasking myth.  In fact, researchers are finding that our focus is decreased, actually divided between each task we do. For example, let's say my husband greets me as I arrive home and begins a  conversation.  At the very same time, my phone chimes to indicate an incoming email. While listening to my husband,...
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Teaching the Unteachable

Teaching the Unteachable

I ended my career working side by side with teachers who taught students from two parent, single parent, foster parent, and even transient homes.  Year after year, new standards, new instructional programs, new intervention kits, new behavior modification programs; nothing new that was tried could raise the school's scores to the top of the rating measure.  Teachers in my building, my friends, fretted  and worried themselves sick day after day that their students' data would not show that their instruction was "highly effective", or sometimes even "effective", based on the set standard benchmarks.  Lots of instructional time was spent on standardized assessments of the standards-gathering more data, graphing data points on the various standardized formative assessments to pinpoint each student's specific academic mastery and nonmastery of the multitude of itemized standards in Math and Language Arts.  Behavior of students continued to be an instructional distraction.  Students were unable to sit for uninterrupted instruction in math or reading, they did not...
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Join Me!

Join Me!

I was just watching the marathon of past seasons from Vikings on the History channel when the preview for season 4 showed Ragnar Lothbrook telling his warriors to stop looking backward; that's not where they're going. So true...how many wasted glances are behind us when we should be focused on moving forward. If you are ready to move forward and leave the negativity of standards and standardized testing that don't apply to the very unique and diverse students you educate, then save the date and join me June 6 and 7, 2016, to Motivate, Differentiate, Collaborate, and Celebrate this beautiful career we are called to: Teaching....
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Homework – Where’s the Learning?

Homework – Where’s the Learning?

The day I had been dreading since 2014, when my daughter had finished fourth grade, had arrived in the form of a rolled up sheet of butcher paper clenched like a trophy in the hand of my now fourth grade son as he arrived home after school two weeks ago. The note I found in his folder that night was one I had seen just two years before; Famous State Life-Size Personality Poster Guidelines, with all of the intricate details listed in numerical order that I was sure were lost upon my son in his enthusiasm, but sure to be found in the points on his rubric (also attached) after it was graded. But, it was his rite of passage from his perceived baby-type of homework to the real, grown-up type of homework he had seen his sister complete. He was ready to jump in-that night! But I was ready to crawl into my bed, pull the sheets over my...
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