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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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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The Lesson that Children Teach – If We Listen

During the Differentiated Instruction Academy that I was teaching today, several of the participating teachers and I were musing about the end of summer and its quick arrival. It was a beautiful thing to notice that the conversation never dipped to a saddened tone. The teachers were all sharing their excitement for getting their classrooms just right for that first day our new group of students will be joining us for our journey of learning together. That's where our differentiation discovery took us today - it isn't the teacher's journey, but the path each learner leads us down as we learn from them. They teach us their preferences, their fears, their prior knowledge and experiences, as well as their strengths and challenges. Our journey as teachers begins when we stop and listen to all their lessons that they're teaching us....
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