The Five-Second Rule

 

lollipopHave you ever had those incredible moments of frustration that make you want to run, screaming, down the street?  Sure, you have, if you are a teacher, parent or both.  Your role is typically challenged by moments that require every ounce of maturity and wisdom to get you through the day.  Sometimes, it takes a sweet treat to help work through that frustration.

I am reminded of a sticky lollipop falling to the floor and tiny hands rescuing it from the grimy kitchen surface.   With a resounding pitch, my seven-year-old claimed it: “Five-second rule!”  Then, he quickly popped it into his mouth and went about his business.

Yes, the “five-second rule” still lives on, my friends.  I hadn’t heard it in some time, and, at that moment, I thought: What if I took five seconds not to react to people or circumstance? It takes mental awareness and self-control not to lash out when people, places, or life irritates me.   What if I stopped and took five seconds to breathe, or five seconds to be still or five seconds to think about my next course of action?

It’s a simple technique to engage our critical thinking skill set and bring us to a place of interaction vs. reaction.   Modeling this behavior reinforces the developing process that we teach our charges.  When we “walk the talk” our actions carry a stronger message over the words pouring out of our lips.

Sometimes taking five seconds is the difference between enjoying the lollipop or crushing it mercilessly, so the next time you find yourself on the brink, think: Five-second rule!

For more information on the TURNING STONEchoice process please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Sammy@TSC

 

 

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School – No Books Allowed

21st+Century+Word+CloudA technological tidal wave has taken over schools and the future of text books is slowly morphing to their electronic cousins.  With the majority of advocates toting technology as the skill of the future, it may be hard to defend the paper back.  Educators, parents and IT gurus have all chimed in on the pros and cons of moving to digital text books. Deliberation over a complete integration is not taken lightly and some concerns linger.

Do students have the capacity to carrying the burden of such a responsibility?  When everything is said and done, an ipad or similar tablet is a very thin, portable computer.  Our children will be responsible for the physical safety of a computer. When kids are notorious for losing items like text books or even the shoes off their feet, is it a reasonable expectation to think that they can keep a tablet safe and secure?  Consider, some school districts struggle with theft and vandalism of their technological resources.

Yes, students embrace technology, yet, struggle with responsible use.  Students currently are using Smart boards, ipads, and desktops during the school day and will then utilize cell phones to interact with family and friends, bring their electronic text books home, do research for school projects on the internet, type up their homework assignments on chat boards and then blow off some steam to play video games, watch some TV or surf the web.

This amount of “screen time” is not maintaining a healthy balance.  Students struggle with unplugging.  There are actual cases of addiction to video games and internet surfing.   Evidence also supports too much screen time can cause a medical condition called computer vision syndrome which causes eye strain and damage.  Additionally, any screen time leading up to bedtime has been proven to effect melatonin levels in the body causing sleep deprivation.

Students need to understand how their overall health is affected by their time spent using digital gadgets, so they can make positive choices.   Equipping students with strategies to balance their leisure screen time with academic responsibilities may prove to be an eye and sleep saver.

Striking a balance with amount of use is second to the ways students have misused technology.  The media is filled with sick and sad stories of social media harassment, bullying and individuals that stalk and prey on children. Cell phones are used to take pictures without permission or record a crime.   Developing the critical thinking skills of the 21st century student is crucial to making safe and smart choices with technology.

Jennifer Patrick, a 7th grade social studies teacher shares her experience and perspective, “My school supplies us with a Social Studies textbook for every student. Our department has not transitioned to digital books, yet.  I used to give each kid a textbook to keep at home. Now I make the offer optional.  I can probably count on my hands the number of times we use the textbook in class each year.  It serves mainly as a supplement.  The wealth of text rich resources available online makes learning meaningful and promotes deeper thinking . . . experiences that traditional textbooks rarely offer.  Given my content area, I think digital books make exploring history more appealing to 21st century learners than the “dusty old textbooks”.  I recognize the concerns about the cost and access to technology for digital books to be feasible.  However, considering our tech savvy audience and the fact that these resources will never be outdated, I would fully support a move to digital books.”

Michael Rubright from EIRC (Educational Information & Resource Center) is responsible for technology rollouts schools are currently using like web based text books and tablet integration in the classroom. He believes educators should be partnering with businesses that understand the role of technology in schools and rely on the experts to help provide technology policies that address issues and concerns.  Rubright suggests an upfront tutorial for teachers, staff and students, on how to use the technology appropriately, “This is key to setting expectations for usage.”

Guidance and training on how to use digital textbooks or any technology is not necessarily the challenge. The challenge lies with the level of responsibility for the resource, an understanding of how to best balance technology and the appropriate use.  Without the continued effort to foster a student’s ability to make positive choices, students will not only struggle with technology, but with life in general.

For more information on the TURNING STONEchoice process please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Sammy@TSC

Why We Accept Unhealthy Relationships

 

friendshiphand

Some news stories grip you right in the gut with an immediate reaction of condemnation for those who have committed unspeakable acts.  The reaction is multifold when those involved are children, teenagers, or the disabled.

The article that follows this author’s preface reveals details of a high-functioning, autistic teenager who was abused by two teenage girls.  The startling fact is his insistence on maintaining a friendship with his abusers.

It may be easy for us to assume his autism is the cause for the way he feels.  Then again, there are many teens–adults, too–who struggle with the concept of a healthy friendship or a romantic relationship.  This could be distorted by the primary relationship with parents, the modeling of a relationship, the warped perspective of friendships on television, and even the natural immaturity of young people.

I believe this teenage boy is representative of many, in the sense that we all want for attention and want to feel like we belong.  The emptiness of being ignored or passed by can be more difficult to endure than the slights of a so-called-friend or sporadic verbal or physical abuse that might accompany a relationship.

The identification of a true friend and the qualities of a healthy friendship is not simple.  This process requires a skill set that includes critical thinking and questioning.  Would a friend call me names? Would a friend laugh at me when I am seriously hurt?  Would a friend lie to me?

To be clear, real, solid friendships go through their ups and downs.  If you have a high level of respect and care for each other, then, most likely, you are in possession of a priceless gift–a true friend.

Understanding the imperative relationship to have is the one with self, to accept a high level of self-respect, appreciate one’s quirks and to embrace being alone.  We spend more time with ourselves than anyone else, best to develop that friendship.

“You can never be happy as someone’s other half unless you can be happy as a whole all on your own.” –Anonymous

Follow link for original story

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/autistic-md-boy-says-he-wants-to-resume-relationship-with-girls-accused-of-abusing-him/2014/04/20/21551f20-c266-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html

For more information about our programs for parents and educators please follow http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Sammy@TURNING STONEchoice

 

 

Grit

Fall and get up

With over ten years of back-yard observation, I have witnessed scores of children “wipe out” a gazillion times. There is the simple trip-and-fall, the oh-that’s-gotta-hurt, and the paranormal tumble, with its subsequent ride to the ER. What has impressed me most throughout my years of observation is the one kid–no matter the classification of wipeout or injury—who stands up, brushes himself or herself off, and keeps on going. That is the kid who has “grit.”

Parents and teachers easily spot grit in a child. It’s the “thing” that gives you some assurance that this kid will be all right in life, because he or she can take the hard knocks and persevere.

How important is grit? Some researchers claim grit is a better predictor of success than I.Q. A 2013 report from the Department of Education claims that kids are learning to “do school,” but aren’t learning the skills they need in life– skills like critical thinking and positive-choice making, which are crucial to every area of life.

However, schools across the nation are becoming more proactive in recognizing the value of determination, effort, and hard work and are providing additional resources for the development of critical thinking skills, which improve self-confidence. One can argue that grit is just a byproduct of confidence, but, although we may see grit as a natural way for some, and not for others, researchers are hopeful that the qualities that define grit, like persistence, tenacity, and resilience, are teachable. The difficulty is trying to quantify the unquantifiable.

How can we develop grit? As parents and teachers, we can simply back off and let the struggles and natural consequences of life occur. Think of a butterfly working its way out of the cocoon. Without the struggle to free itself from the cocoon, the butterfly cannot develop the wing strength to fly, and it will die. It is a test of personal restraint, not to rescue students by giving hints to questions that may prove to be challenging or to take over tasks at home with which kids may struggle. Through every struggle, our children will develop persistence, resilience, and, finally, grit.

What are your “gritty” experiences as parents and teachers? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

For more information about our programs for parents and educators please follow http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Sammy@TURNING STONEchoice

SPRING IS HERE!

background_Princess-Juliana

Whoo-Hoo! Today is the official first day of SPRING! It may be frigid and . . . snow might fall down on us, again, but, March 20th is the day that marks a new season, a new beginning or rebirth. It’s been a rough winter, hasn’t it?

I look forward to the mild weather, the sounds of neighborhood children playing outside, breathing in fresh air, stretching chilled and tight muscles and soaking up sun rays that were hiding behind winter’s gloomy sky.

There is something about Spring that brings an inner smile to the spirit and a sense of calm. Could be Spring, also known as, Vernal Equinox is the time when the sun crosses the plane of the earth’s equator, making night and day approximately equal length all over the earth. In one word there is a balance in our world.

This could be the perfect time to reflect upon one’s personal balance with all of the choices afforded to each of us daily. New Year’s Day may mark the beginning of a new calendar year and repeated failed resolutions but Spring gives us a motivating edge with new adventures and possibilities.

I’m thinking it may be time to smell the flowers. What will you take the time to think through?

Happy Spring!
Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Thankful Annoyances

positive
What is wrong with my brain today? It just does not want to focus and get with the program, which is today’s blog deadline. I’ve got excellent Thanksgiving and gratitude topics to chat about, but I think I’ve got the dreaded case of writer’s blah! Plus, the computer ate my original blog, which I was not too thrilled about, a sign I probably should not publish. I’m totally complaining on a blog that is supposed to be encouraging thankfulness (insert laughter). But, aren’t the days filled with typical annoyances that pick away at our thankfulness until we are generally sour, curdled up, stinking milk? I don’t want to be stinking milk. A recent experience of spilled milk in the back of my car, left to grow an ungodly toxic smell, is a little too real of how behaviors and attitudes can stink up our world. The old saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk” needs some tweaking. We slowly accept a complaint here and there, and before we are aware of it, we have adopted a spirit of grumbling. This can lead to a weighed down spirit and a position of feeling low and out of control. Instead of deriving a wonder list of the things we are thankful for could we actually be thankful for the annoyances. Use them as tools to learning and growing in our ability to make self-empowering choices. We cannot always control the circumstances of our lives but we do control how we react to them. I’m thankful the computer decided to digest my original article and give me an opportunity to share an everyday issue rather than the perfunctory article on gratitude or thanksgiving. Besides, there is still time to write that one.

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

ANGST – Book Review

Angst
Steven, Sarah, and Johnny are three best friends attempting to navigate the perils of freshman year in high school while dealing with the realities of teen life. Steven is coping with the return of his biological father and attempting to prove his worth for his father’s attention and time. Sarah is in her first romantic relationship with an older, mysterious, sophomore and is verbally tormented by a group of girls. Johnny seeks to live up to his father’s legacy on the football field and wrestles with his emotions for Sarah. Angst chronicles the personal stories of each individual as they grow apart over time but reunite in a dramatic conclusion.
Angst is a gem of a book! The author strikes the tone of the teen perfectly through his three main characters. Teen readers will relate and parents if you are wondering what is going on in your teenagers head and in their world, read this book. Nothing is off-limits, the real issues, pressures and doubts, but not without palpable solutions. A fast read and a super-cool ending!

Available on amazon.com here http://www.amazon.com/Angst-Christopher-Avery/dp/0984002200/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_dnr_1
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com