Friday, July 18, 2014

Congress Has a Bucket, Too

As a teacher, you face many issues: conflicting regulations, Common Core, low pay. You may be wondering if there's anything you can do about it. I'm here to remind you that everyone has a voice!

Have you ever read the book How Full is Your Bucket to your kids? If not, you should. It's a wonderful book about how compliments and kind actions fill someone's happiness bucket throughout the day. One kindness may not seem like much, but eventually they add up.  You can probably see where I'm going with this.

Congress has several buckets that need to be filled. This means you, personally, can do one of two things: (1) you can sit in the back and complain, letting those with opposing views fill that bucket instead. Or (2) you can stand up for what you know your children need.

It doesn't have to be anything big. Start small. Talk to your team about the change you'd like to see. Write letters and let you kids draw pictures. Make a phone call.

And for all the doubters I know are still reading, here's proof that it works:

NC House Votes to Replace Common Core

"As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” Ghandi

Happy teaching!

--Amy Latta

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Potato Salad and Risk

Hello, all!

I hope you're having a great summer so far. My organization has come to a grinding halt; it seems there's always an emergency in the classroom these days. You know how it goes. We lost a few students to kindergarten, so we'll have lower numbers next week and hopefully I'll have some time then.

How many of you have heard of Danger and his potato salad?

It's the story of one man and his quest to crowdfund a $10 potato salad. Kickstarter, you see, recently changed their terms. They don't moderate projects anymore, instead opting to allow any project within reason. As a result, someone decided to Kickstart potato salad. He's not a chef; he's simply asking for $10 to make some potato salad. As a result of taking this risk, he has raised over $40,000.

Here's a link to an article:
and here's the link to the actual Kickstarter:

This got me thinking about risk. In the classroom, we teach our students risk all the time simply by challenging them in their natural play. "Can you build that tower higher?" "What happens if you do this?" We provide risk in a controlled environment because we know it's good for their development and self-confidence. If they fail, they try again, developing perseverance and self-confidence.

Children aren't the only ones who benefit from risk-taking, either. In adults, it can mean a new career, a new life partner, or simply reaping the rewards of an investment. When we take risks, our brain actually releases dopamine that gives us a sense of happiness. Taking risks actually makes us happier!

Now let me ask you: when was the last time you took a risk? When you built that tower up as high as it could go, even when it seemed like it couldn't hold another piece? Think about when that was, whether it was recent or long ago. What was the result of it?  Share your reflections in the comments below.

Happy Teaching!