Got Grit?

grit coverBright eyed and bushy tailed I moved right from graduation to teaching geography, reading, and running a computer lab. Everyone said, your light will dim and your focus will change. Well, they were wrong.

Let the record show, that was some 10 years ago and my intentions have not changed, but have only grown stronger and more awesome.  Why? Because I “got” grit and I teach my students to have grit.

How else can I prepare my students to function in the interconnected online global world that is full of competition? By never stopping to achieve their goals – that’s how!  Do not be pushed down in the face of adversity. Remember, it is okay and even good to make mistakes; this is how we learn. Stand up for what you believe in. If you get knocked down, get up!  Life can be hard and hurtful. Learn from this and get back to work.

Continue reading


Brick by Brick

autism awareness
My brother David who has autism is one of the most caring and sweet people you will ever meet. Many people are surprised at this because they think that having autism means that you don’t show much emotion, or that you keep to yourself. In reality, David loves being around people and he wears his heart on his sleeve, so it’s usually pretty easy to see how he’s feeling (and why). Part of this is because he doesn’t guard his emotions, and you know what? I really admire that.

Openly showing emotion is often seen as a weakness. While it’s true that there are limits, overall I think it’s a strength to have the confidence to let your guard down. You aren’t afraid to have people see you as you really are in that moment. It also means that you can receive the love and support that you need from the people that you love.

Continue reading


Interview Tips: Knowing When to Stop Talking

interviewYour palms are sweating. Your knees are shaking. You feel like you’re rambling. You probably are. STOP.

Job interviews can be incredibly intimidating. You sit across the table from high-level executives and try to prove your worth. In behavioral-based interviews, you are asked several specific, action-driven questions. Your interviewers want to know the details of specific instances when you applied your natural talents and learned skills to unite stakeholders, lead teammates, and solve challenges.

The first problem you face is you’re drawing a blank. Funny, I can’t think of a single time I ever spoke to a single customer or solved a single problem… Continue reading


Test Anxiety

Test anxietyAnyone can get test anxiety. In fact, it is normal to feel some stress before a test. The anticipation and nerves you feel can actually help you perform at your peak. However, for some people this normal stress is much more intense. Students who worry a lot in general may feel more anxious at test time. Those who worry about getting every answer correct may be even more prone to test stress.

Students who eat right, get plenty of rest, and get ample play and exercise time are better equipped to combat test anxiety. These are important factors all the time, but it’s most important to get all three the day before a test.

Practicing these few tips prove to be valuable skills not only when dealing with test anxiety, but in many of life’s situations: Continue reading


Cows, Hens, and Ducks…OH MY!

children's booksThe Importance of Children’s Picture Books in KindergartenGrade 12

“Once upon a time…”

I always get chills when I read these first few words contained in many children’s books. The words bring me back to a simpler time when reading was filled with colorful illustrations, playful words, and the promise of happily ever after. Continue reading


Can a Caveman Teach Kids to be Healthier?

cave broCan a caveman teach kids better eating and exercise habits?

The team at Florida Virtual School is betting he can. They’ve defrosted Cave Bro as part of an entertaining new game concept designed to teach kids how to make better nutritional choices. Cave Bro has been frozen for more than 30,000 years, so needless to say he’s hungry and will eat anything. It’s up to players to decide what he eats, how much, and how often. Good choices win. Bad choices create one really cranky caveman.

The concept originated as part of the new Health and PE course development, but after working with Fablevision to develop a playable prototype and testing it with kids, the team quickly realized this amusing game could teach good nutrition and exercise habits in ways teachers and parents never could. Continue reading


Admirable Women: A Reflection

womens monthSandra Day O’Connor once said, “We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone. Whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life…” During March, the world celebrated Women’s History Month – honoring and recognizing the greatness of the women that contribute to our accomplishments and celebrating the legacy of that greatness upon which we stand.

My story contains many threads, but today I celebrate just a few of the remarkable women who stand out and help me aspire to greatness.

I recall learning about Susan B. Anthony as a fourth grader. I remember learning that she was told she did not need to learn math because she was a girl. I was a feisty 10-year-old and that riled me up, probably as much as it riled up Susan B. Anthony. Continue reading


Instructional Coaching the FLVS Way

instructional coachingHow does instructional coaching work in a virtual world?  Have you heard about the Vir-structional coaching program at FLVS?

The Vir-structional program is designed to help those using a virtual platform to train, teach, and inform participants.  The goal of the Coaching Program is to deliver high quality technology-based education by increasing customer/student learning through engaging and interactive live lessons.

Instructional coaching provides a venue for instructors to share teaching ideas and strategies with each other. The coach is someone who has expertise and knowledge in developing highly effective and engaging lessons that will lead to increased participant learning. The coachee is someone who would benefit from a coaching relationship by being open and receptive to learning new tools, techniques, and strategies to increase participants’ attendance and understanding. Continue reading


Standards, Grittiness, and the Underdog

resilienceIn his book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants,” Malcolm Gladwell  argues that the people we traditionally considered to be underdogs might actually have unique  advantages created by the very adversity they had to overcome. Gladwell uses the allegory of David  and Goliath to dramatize how David’s victory may not have been as unlikely or extraordinary as we are led to believe.  Perhaps, David relied simply on an unconventional approach and his own audacity to blindside Goliath.  His experience as an underdog forced him to view the situation differently and discover a creative solution to his problem.  David didn’t view Goliath simply as an indestructible giant. Rather, he saw a slow opponent, dragged down by his armor, and unprepared to battle a swifter, more prepared adversary.

Gladwell continues his theory by describing a seeming disadvantage, dyslexia, as a “desirable difficulty.”  Continue reading


Self-Injury Awareness Month

harm awarenessMarch is Self-Injury Awareness Month.

Each year, approximately 2 million cases of self-injury are reported annually in the United States. One in five females and one in seven males engage in self-injury. Ninety percent of people who engage in self harm begin during their teenage or pre-adolescent years.[1]

Self-harm can be a way of coping with problems. It may help express feelings that can’t be put into words, serve as a distraction from life, or release emotional pain. Afterwards, one might feel better—but only for a little while. Although self-harm may give temporary relief, it comes with a cost. In the long term, it causes far more problems than it solves. By not learning healthy ways to deal with emotional pain, it increases risk for bigger problems down the line, including major depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and suicide. Continue reading