Wallwish With Me, Yes? {for Tech Tuesday}

Double-click on the image below to add your idea.

Fun and collaborative, no?  Could you use Wall Wisher?


Life Updated: Signs of Fall

Fall for me is when.....
  • I will eat just about anything with the word pumpkin proceeding it.  Pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin bread, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin soup, pumpkin yogurt....
  • I feel torn and excited about personal and professional projects.
  • Our family purchases their ski passes.  
  • I think about making holiday presents. Or should we just buy this year?
  • My Saturday class runs for four weeks (and ends today).  My Saturday students have been lovely.
  • I curse the fallen leaves on our lawn (even though our lawn is teeny, tiny).
  • I love the fallen leaves and their beautiful colors.
  • Lil O wants every book imaginable at her school's book fair.  She's narrows her list to four.
  • I start brainstorming ideas for our holiday door wreath.  
  • Our family goes on hikes - this year with Puppy Jedi in tow.
How is your fall?


Crowdrise for Tech Tuesday

One of the great attributes of the 21st century is us humans sure are into fundraising.  Crowdrise makes it easy to fundraise online - either for one of their preset charities or a cause of your own.

For example, say you are running a 5K next month.  You can register yourself on Crowdrise, make a fundraising page for the 5K and solicit your friends and family to contribute to your page and thus, the cause. The cause does need to be real.  You can't fundraise for the new iPhone 5 you want.  In fact, once the monies are raised, Crowdrise sends the check to the cause/charity on your behalf (and Crowdrise takes a small fee for doing so; 4.95% of each donation).

If you are a non-profit, like a public school, you can register the public school on Crowdrise.  Then, others can fundraise for the school via Crowdrise.  What an easy way for students to fundraise online!

Of course, if you are solely a non-profit, like this one - Operation Smile - you can set up an easy donation page.  By the way, I am in awe of organizations like Operation Smile because I subscribe to this lovely blog and follow Little One's adoption story.  

So, there you have it.  Fundraising for the 21st century.  Easy peasy.


Loud Mouths for a Cause

Doesn't this look like a lovely group?

Lovely and LOUD.  

A couple of Sundays ago, a few of our friends met to cheer on the Half Full Triathlon athletes to benefit the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.  There seems to be decent support for kids and adults going through cancer treatment, but not as much attention - in my opinion - is paid to young adults.  The Ulman Fund changes that - thankfully.

Our motley crew decided to provide encouragement for the cyclists as they pedaled up a pretty sweet hill at mile marker 18 and 40.   I would say the bulk of the cyclists enjoyed our antics and interesting outfits.

Plus, our dance moves.......

Our signage and cross-dressing....

Our technical help and graduation cheers....Yes, that is me in the cap and gown.  I would announce to riders that they "graduated" the big hill. Slightly cheesy, I know.

Of course, Puppy Jedi loves a good cause and cracked out his best tutu for the event.  Our friend, J, was a sight to see in his fairy wings and shirtless attire.....

See what I mean?  Don't those fairy wings and shirtlessness make you want to pedal faster uphill?  I love the sound of this red horn.  One neighbor disagreed....

There were lots of high fives.....

Plenty of signs.....

Happy young cheerers undismayed by the rain.....

And incredible stories like this dad and his son with special needs......

Even Lance Armstrong came to support the Ulman Fund.  And yes, I know that it is rude to point.  I was saying, "You got this, Lance."  Just in case he didn't think he did.  Wink, wink.

Our crew agreed the morning was a complete and utter blast.  The riders were screaming, "We love you guys" and looking for us on their second lap.  Seeing Mr. UpCyclist in my 20-year old, hippie dress made me giggle.  AND we supported a super worthwhile event and cause.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  Next year, we need more recruits!

Double the loud mouths,


PS - For photos from another cycling event Mr. U, Lil O and I supported, see here.

PSS - Big thanks to Upcyclist friend and blog reader, Krissan, for photographing the morning.

Welcome, Ideas.....

During my last coaching session with Sue, somehow we journeyed to the topic of sleep and how my best ideas come to me in the middle of the night.*  

My sleep conversation with Sue went something like this:

Sue:  What do you do when those ideas come to you in your sleep?
Me:  I try to push them out of my mind, so I can go back to sleep. Otherwise, I am tired the next day.
Sue:  Is that working for you?
Me:  No.  I spend hours thinking of those ideas and wishing them away.
Sue (slightly humored): I am imagining you and those ideas - like a giant ball of ideas that you are using all your force to push away.
Me:  Yep, that's me.  I want those ideas to leave. me. alone.
Sue:  What if you did the opposite and welcomed them?
Me:  What? (I wasn't quite sure I heard her correctly)
Sue:  What if you welcomed those ideas instead of pushing them away?
Me: I've never considered welcoming them.  

So, for the past week, I've been doing just that.  When the ideas come to me in the middle of the night instead of wishing them away, I say, "Hello Ideas, thanks for joining me."  Then, I cuddle those ideas like the drawing above.  And back to sleep I go.  The only difference is, my drawing really should have about 2-10 balls as I am often times cuddling more than one set of ideas.

The good news:  I am getting more sleep and my ideas now have a soft, welcoming place to land.

Do your ideas interrupt your sleep?  If yes, how do you handle them?



* After reading Jonah Lehrer's Imagine, I now understand why my best ideas come to me in my sleep.  I will blog on that topic another day.

PS -  Confused about me & life coaching?  If yes, read here.  Or if you missed the passing of perfect, read about its funeral.

TED talks and School Reform

After my breakfast with the California family, I was reminded how much I adore TED Talks and how little I use them in my classroom.

Times are a changin'.

This talk from Sir Ken Robinson linked above combines so many of my interests and those of my college students:  school reform, standardization, ADHD and creativity.

Plus, raise your hand if you appreciate a RSA Animate video?

(My hand is raising and waving wildly).

Enjoy this,

Happy Dots

This polka dot project in the Netherlands just looks happy to me.  I imagine a school covered in dots.  Or instead of a Halloween toilet paper prank, a house covered in fun dots.

Ahhh......The possibilities.

Plus, the photos look cute with my current blog header, no?  Thanks, Design Mom, for sharing.


Open to Opportunity

I am in Boston for a meeting today.  A pretty quick in & out visit.  I brought along a stack of papers to grade and toted them to breakfast with me.  To my fruition, I didn't grade a single paper.  I blame my impromptu breakfast mates - a lovely family from California.

It turns out the family homeschools their two sons - you know, I appreciate thoughtful homeschooling - and the mom was such a wealth of insightfulness that I literally took notes.  Yes, having a regular conversation over breakfast taking notes.  That's me.  Slightly geeky.

Which made me think.  When you are open to opportunity, delightful things can happen.

Now, I just need to grade this stack of papers, attend my meeting, and find a bookstore before my flight this evening.  The mom recommended two books for me.  Have you read Ingenius or Creating Innovators?

Open to opportunity,

PS - College students who have taken Educational Psychology with me, you'll laugh when I tell you which book the high school-aged son was reading.  Daniel Pink's Drive!  Could this family be any cooler?

{Upcycled} Juice Pouch Wallets - A Tutorial

Because we all need a break from work......

Here's an easy weekend craft to give yourself a break from studying or if you are a teacher, grading papers. Mr. UpCyclist and I both carry a juice pouch wallet and get compliments all the time on how fun & unique they are.

You need:

  • Two clean juice pouches (like Honest Kids, Capri Sun, etc.)
  • Goo-Be-Gone (explained below)
  • Velcro (see photo below)
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors

Step #1:  Get all the kids in your neighborhood or in your classroom to drink juice from a pouch.

Step #2:  Using scissors, cut a small slit on the bottom of each pouch, so you can easily wash out the inside of the pouches.

Step #3:  Give the pouches a bath.  Ahhh....the life of an {upcycled} pouch.

Step #4:  Let the pouches dry overnight.  The next day, I like to place a small paper towel inside the bottom slit to collect any excess water.  That's a Martha Stewart tip, by the way.  She does that in her vases, reportedly.  Now, for the Goo-Be-Gone: Sometimes the glue used to adhere the straw to the outside of the pouch leaves a sticky residue.  The Goo-Be-Gone gets rid of that residue from the outside of the pouch lickety-split. I found my small bottle of Goo-Be-Gone at the Dollar Store.  Home Depot has Goo-Be-Gone, too.  

Step #5:  You are about to start sewing.  You are going to line-up two pouches like I have below.  One pouch should overlap the other pouch about 2 inches.

Step #6:  You will then sew two zig-zag lines across the two juice pouches while they are nice and aligned with each other.  Two zig-zag lines is adequate to hold the pouches together.

Step #7:  Now, begin folding your pouch into a wallet.  Notice how I rounded my bottom corners.  That way, the bottom corners aren't sharp.

Step #8:  Sew a straight stitch up one side of the pouch and sew another straight stitch up the other side.  It is very pouch-like now.

Here's a close-up of the rounded corners all sewn......Notice I use a straight-stitch for the sides - not a zig-zag stitch.

Step #9:  Time to round the corners of the top flap.  Then, sew a straight stitch around the edge of the top flap to keep all the layers of the juice pouch together.

Here's a close-up of the top flap....

This is the Velcro I like to use.  I'm all about a Sticky Back in the little square shape.  I have found this Velcro at Joann Fabrics & Crafts, Home Depot (or was that Lowe's?) and Walmart.

Step #10:  Take the soft side of the Velcro and adhere it to the main pouch.

Step #11:  Now, line-up the rough side of Velcro and adhere it to the flap.  The directions say to let the Velcro adhere overnight before using.  I generally follow this advice for maximum adherence.

Voila!  Upcycled juice pouch wallets!  Cute, no?  They make a great gift.  A fun gift card holder.  And of course, an uber-extraordinary wallet.

All the best, Upcyclist.  Happy craftucation!


Nurturing Emotional Intelligence

UPDATE:  Want more?  Check out this blog post, too.  This feelings wheel rules!

As Lil O gets older, I need to step up my "game" in helping her build resiliency and emotional intelligence.  If you can't remember what that's all about, you can start here with the Marshmallow post.

Or, you if haven't used HALTED, consider using it.  It is a personal favorite of mine.  I think all humans (age 8 and older) should understand how to HALT themselves.  I HALT myself all the time.

In efforts to step up my game, I plan to embrace the easy suggestions in this article from Vanderbilt University.  My next two tasks with Lil O will be: 1) to teach her HALTED (I think she is old enough to understand the acronym and its use) and 2) To start working on her understanding of feeling words like the list above (from the same article).

Feeling brave and excited (Hey, look!  I used two new feelings words),


UPDATE:  New post here...because really?  Can you have enough Emotional Intelligence posts?  I think not.

Seeing Stars

I recently had professional head shots taken.  Evidenced above and below.  Star doodles seemed appropriate for the photo above, no?  Just look at my mischievous smile.

A head shot of me is long overdue.  Up until last week, if someone needed a head shot of me for a professional gig, I just cropped a photo off my iPhone.  That's a sure way to look unprofessional, mind you.  Now, I owe a humongous thank you to Photography by Shelane.  Shelane was ultra-fast at snapping the photos of me, editing them that day (I love my softened wrinkles!) and somehow made me look like I have style.  You should know, I brought seven tops (blouses) with me to the photo shoot.  Shelane nixed five of them without batting an eyelash.  She's not fooling around.

This head shot below is one of my favorites.  My mom doesn't like that part of my head is cut off.  I like that feature, actually.  Plus, I like the artsy feel of the brick wall and the background being out-of-focus.

Most of my family and close friends think this head shot below makes the best head shot.  It does have more of a traditional look.

I think this one truly captures my personality.  Though it might not make a traditional head shot.

It especially does not make a traditional head shot when you add doodles to it, but they make me smile.

Shelane captured the sweet side of me with this shot.  Looks can be deceiving.  Ha! 

In the end, I think I will take Shelane's advice.  I will use all the head shots for the "right" occasion.  If I need a more playful head shot, I have 'em.  If I need a more traditional, conservative head shot, I have those, too.

Thank you, Shelane, for capturing me and my personality on digital film and separating my curls when the humidity kindly clumped them together.  

What's your head shot look like?



Teachers Pay Teachers {for Tech Tuesday}

Teachers make the best sharers, which is probably why Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) - an online marketplace for lessons plans, activities and other teachery things - is having such a huge success.  In fact, one of the teachers who uses TPT just surpassed earning a million dollars just through the items she's sold to other teachers on TPT.

Isn't that awesome?  A million on the side.  To read more about her success, click here.

Of course, not everything is for sale on TPT.  Almost 50,000 items are free!  Free.  FRee.  FREE!

Before you spend anytime developing your next lesson plan or activity, check out Teachers Pay Teachers and save yourself valuable time. Or add your own items and start earning extra income.

Yep, thank me later :)


PS - Special thanks to Skillshare for featuring Teachers Pay Teachers on their Facebook page this week and reignited my interest in them.