Thursday, December 31, 2015

Advent Celebration and Gentle Rhythm

Are you just coming down from the hectic days around the holiday?  Did Christmas feel like a let down after all the resources you invested for just a few hours of unwrapping and overeating?

I have felt that way for so many years.  That is not what I want my son to think Christmas is all about.  So this year we tried an experiment that we have deemed a success and plan to continue next year.

Before I tell you what it was, please know it was way less insane than many Christmas Days I've witnessed.  We hosted an All Family Advent Celebration.  We {the six year old boy and I} talked and roughly planned it in the Fall.  {We both love to offer hospitality, but we don't do well with big expectations.}  We sent out invitations in October so that people could mark their calendars.  Here are the highlights:

  • Each Sunday evening of Advent we had a simple meal at our house
  • We made soup 3 weeks, and we made pizza the last week
  • There was no pressure to attend, but all were welcome
  • There was no pressure to bring food or eat the food we had prepared, but guests were invited to contribute
  • He lit our advent wreath each week
  • We had simple crafts, seasonal books to read, and Christmas music

The number of guests we had ranged from 2 - 18.  The last week my son was super excited that his teacher joined us!

There was always enough food!

Sometimes it was really quiet, and sometimes it was really loud with kids playing and adults laughing.

Since it was new we could keep the expectations simple.

Our house got tidied once a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We got to offer hospitality.  We got to make lovely memories with different combinations of family members.  This added a lovely rhythm to the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It would also work nicely with a close group of friends!

Now it's time to reflect:  What worked well for you during the holiday season?  What will you repeat?  What will you delete?

Happy New Year!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Best Teacher Gift Ever

Tis the season when teachers receive lots of kind and thoughtful gifts.  They are usually stuff.  Nice stuff that says your the best teacher or an apple for the teacher.  Year ago a teacher friend of mine did her kitchen in apples.  It was really cute.  She didn't buy any of it.  All the decor had been gifts.

This year I am offering an amazing email retreat!  It's called the Restoration and Renewal Retreat.

Here is what you can expect for yourself or you favorite teacher(s):
  • One email every day for the last week of this year that will support you in restoration and renewal for the second half of the school year.
  • You get to keep all of the content forever
  • The materials will be delivered in a variety of formats:  Audio and video recordings, ebooks, articles, worksheets and other printables with inspiring art and quotes, fun projects, and resource lists
  • Here are the topics:  Breathe, Journal, Move, Affirm, Be, Create, Reflect

It is super affordable.  There are two levels that can be selected.  The least expensive is $7.  You read that right--an amazing teacher gift for just seven bucks!

You send me the moola and the teacher mail address, and I send them the password to the sight where they can access some free inspiration to make it through to the holidays! HERE is where to sign up.  Give a great gift that includes only the stuff you or your favorite teachers or coworkers want to download!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pop Up Studio Sale

I'm inviting everyone in for just a couple hours to grab the best deals of the year--20% off everything in my studio.  {That means the $145 painting you've wanted is just $116--best deal of the year for just a couple hours}

Original acrylic paintings, original watercolor posters, cards, journals, brave inspiration card decks, Winter Peace card and more.

Come visit me, bring friends, shop for the holidays, shop for yourself, have fun!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Creativity and Energetic Offerings

I'm offering a variety of classes and workshops between now and winter break.  If you're local I'd be delighted to have you join us.

First I'm pleased to offer a new session of Just 4 Girls Yoga.  This is a wonderful chance for elementary age girls to gain body awareness, gain social and creative skills, and practice mindfulness in a fun environment of yoga breathing, stretching, stories, and games.  Each week has a different topic.  Some of this sessions include gratitude, generosity, and light.  This is where to register.
If you want to peak into our first session, HERE is where you can learn more.

I'm also pleased to offer yoga for everyone on Tuesday morning in Barberton and Saturday morning in Norton.  Learn more about those class times and locations HERE.

I have two pretty fantastic workshops coming up.

The first is Holiday Season Sanity Saver.  We will practice some yoga breathing and relaxing that you can use to refresh anytime, and then we will enjoy some tea, strategizing, and a little book for notes that I make for just you.  Get more details and register HERE

Then I'm super excited for a two evening workshop of Upcycled Decorations and gifts.  Some of our projects will include these:

Make a tree by folding a paperback book

Learn to make newspaper roses to create a wreath
I'm also planning for some felted wool decorations, magazine pages becoming stationary sets, and making gift tags and cards with recycled handmade paper.  Use your new found skills to continue creating more gifts and decorations on your own.  Details and sign up HERE

Treat yourself so that you can find more joy and less stress in the rest of this year!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Twenty years from now

Sailboats Under A Tree $185

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

This quote is most often attributed to Mark Twain, but he didn't say it!  We don't know who did, but it is really good.

What will you be disappointed you didn't do?

Go do it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tis the Season

It's that time of year when teachers need lots of little gifts for hostess gifts, coworkers, parent volunteers, stocking stuffers, and the list just keeps going.

Never fear!  You can take care of all of the needs with my handy little creations.  I have an assortment of goodies that are available for between $5 and $25.

I have my new hand sewn mini journals:  Write your own story mini journals are HERE

I still have many of the Summer of Inspiration Original and Affordable watercolors HERE.  {These guys start at $20, and they become less expensive the more you buy!}

Brave Inspiration Card Decks--54 of my favorites from Summer of Inspiration.  They are perfect for a desk or computer keyboard!  Available HERE

I even have original acrylic paintings in 4x4 canvases for only $20.  You will find them in the Brave Art Gallery and Shop HERE.  {I will continue to add images of more inspiring mini canvases, so check back!}

The Brave Art Gallery and Shop offers convenient online shopping HERE.
If you are in my area you can arrange to visit my studio and see all the pieces that are available and save on shipping.

A huge THANK YOU and deep gratitude for support this teacher artist and other artists!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Seasonal art

Even if you can't find much time for art at least once a quarter make some seasonal art.  Fall is a great time to start because pumpkins and gourds make wonderful still life.  You can see some drawings that some kids started one year here.

I love art as a process so I would do several quick 15 minute sessions.  Here is what I would do:

Plan to model each of these for one or two minutes.
1.  Sketch the still life with pencil
2.  Trace around the objects with crayons.
3.  Add color with watercolor paints.  {If you don't have paints, crayons or color pencils will work nicely.  This would be a lovely way to teach kids to use several colors together, working lightest to darkest.}

Need a reason to justify season art?  Write poetry or seasonal narratives, and display them together.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

NEOEA Play Day

If you're in my local area then you may have this Friday off of school for Professional Development.  If you don't already know what you're going to do, I am delighted to invite you to spend your morning with me creating.

We will meet at the intersection of Personal Development and Professional Development

October 16, 2015 {Have fun and play all morning!}
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. {Mind/Body/Spirit}
Art Center on Tusc  {571 W. Tuscarawas Ave.,  Barberton}

Planned activities I look forward to sharing {Yoga, Intuitive Painting, Nature Walk, More Painting, Inspiring Projects for yourself or your classroom}

Wear comfy clothes
$40/ includes yoga class and all creative project supplies and materials--pay at the door, but RSVP HERE now
{I must have at least 5 participants so bring all your teacher friends!}

I'm looking forward to sharing a great day filled with courage and creativity!

Brave Teacher Mim

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

28 Uses for a Single Sheet Eight Page Booklet

I love having kids create their own learning.  It takes much more time, but it's so worth it.  One of my favorite little tools is a little booklet made from a single sheet of paper.  These are probably too small for students under third grade, but from there on up the uses are limitless.

Here is a little video to show you how to make two different styles of the little book:

And I came up with 28 ways that popped into my head for using this book.  I bet you can think of tons more.  If anything comes to mind, please add it in the comments.

How many uses can you think of for a little 1 sheet eight page booklet?

  1.  Record daily temperature or weather
  2. Answer a daily word problem/number story
  3. Write a story using spelling words
  4. Make a comic book using spelling words
  5. Write spelling words in different fancy fonts
  6. Use spelling words in sentences
  7. Word of the day--each booklet could contain 7 words with a “chapter” title page for the theme of those 7 words
  8. Create “How to” process books ie How to make chocolate chip cookies
  9. Use to record steps of scientific method for a science experiment or demonstration
  10.   Record ways to make the number for that day of the school year.  If it’s the 25th day, use 25 tally marks, a quarter, 5 x 5, 20 + 5, twenty-five, etc.
  11.   Make a comic book or what you are studying in any subject
  12.   Retell a story
  13.   Make a timeline
  14.   Make a little magazine collage on each page
  15. Use to show examples of a grammar concept--Write sentences and highlight all the nouns or all the adjectives
  16.   Make lists of words that can be used instead of overused words
  17.   Make a book on a topic of study for a younger student
  18.   Record growth over time--i.e. from egg to butterfly
  19.   Examples of good study habits
  20.   Examples of kind behavior at recess
  21.   Write a story on any topic
  22.   Record favorite quotes
  23.   Write a recipe
  24.   Record definitions for vocabulary words
  25.   Illustrate vocabulary words
  26.   Make a multi-page card filled with good wishes (ie what you wish for mom on Mother’s Day)
  27.  Use the booklet as a final assessment at the end of a science or social studies unit.
  28. Incorporate into science notebooking

Monday, October 5, 2015

I totally love story stones

Material:  Sticker and gems or rocks

Two little sets:  Woodland plants and animals and meadow life

I totally love story stones!  I think they are a great way to incorporate more creativity into the common core classroom.

You can go to pintrest of just search "story stones" to find many more beautiful and creative pieces than those that I have made!  One blog post I particularly like is HERE.

I want for simple--down and dirty.  I just use stickers on glass gems or rocks.  My classroom students and kids yoga students have both enjoyed using them.  They can be used whole class, in partnerships, at table teams, or as a learning center alone.  They can be used to strengthen certain skills (ie. describing words or beginning/middle/end).  They can be used for differentiation, too.  They are fun, and so you know kids will like them.

With 4th graders it might be fun to try putting vocabulary or specific words on story rocks instead of pictures or stickers.  If you try this, let me know how it works!


a variety of small stickers
rocks or glass gems
modge podge + brush
box or bag for storage

1.  Choose stickers that will work well for the size of rocks or gems you have.  {Small round stickers are great on small glass gems.}  Consider if you want some stickers that seem like they fit together for a particular topic--woodland animals and plants or all insects or jungle animals.
2.  Add stickers to rocks
3.  Modge podge over the tops of the stickers and allow them to sit out and dry overnight
4.  Store story stones in a bag or box.  {You might want to store each set in its own little pouch.}

What about the common core standards?  Where does this fit in?

I'm just highlighting the anchor standards that apply to every grade:

Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Writing:  Text Type and Purpose:
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

Writing:  Production and Distribution of Writing:

  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. 
Have you used story stones?  How?

Best wishes with bringing more beauty and creativity into your classroom.  Let us know how it works!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

25 Thoughts on Self Care for Transformational Teachers

This was my 30+ minutes of writing today.  I think it is really hard to do these things with consistency, but I hope something will spark for you!

How many ways can I think of for transformational teachers to care for themselves?  {These are things that I’m applying so much more now that I’m out of the classroom for this year.}

  1.  Know your limits and stick to them--know how much time you will commit in a day/a week/ a month/ a year to the tasks you need to do--planning/grading/cleaning/set up/ extra stuff.  
  2. Be realistic and stick to it.  For example:  I have 30 minutes to grade, and that is all today.
  3. Close out distractions from your personal work time--no internet, friends, kids, coworkers, etc.  The time moves fast, and you know what you have to do.  Carve out that quiet work time and keep it sacred.
  4. Say NO! politely but firmly.  Some ways to say it are:  “I wish I could, but I’m not able to add anything extra right now.”  “That sounds like a good idea, but it doesn’t line up with my goals right now.”  “I wish you well, but I am not able to participate at this time.”
  5. Do something that brings you joy every single day--cook, walk around your block, knit, play with your kids, clean your house, listen to music, whatever it is for you.  It might be very simple like smile as you walk down the street.  You are only able to give from the overflow of your joy, so keep your joy well filled and overflowing!
  6. Honor your humanity.  You are not a teaching machine or robot.  You are a human being.  When you recognize and accept this in your self it will be much easier to recognize and accept in other people--especially your students.
  7. Practice being present.  Stop and look at people when they are speaking to you.  Don’t let your mind wander.  Really be there.  In the long run it saves time and resources.
  8. Keep guilt and shame at bay--they will steal your joy and deflate your effectiveness.
  9. Move your body every day--and I don’t mean around your classroom--unless your dancing around before or after school!  Preferable move outside. 
  10. Fuel your body with the best nutrition you can.  Be intentional about the ways you fuel your body.  The better the nutrition you put in the more effectiveness you will be able to put out.  {On days when you eat a bag of M&Ms, accept it, let it go and move on.  Refer to number 8}
  11.   Spend as much time in nature that you can.  Vitamin D from the sun is a big deal.  Moving outside is a big deal.  Time in nature is proven to improve mood and overall outlook. 
  12.   Get enough rest.  This is more than just sleep, and sleep is very important.  Plan down time for yourself and your family.
  13. Learn something new.  This can be for your job or just for fun.  Take a pottery class.  Learn to salsa.  Whatever is going to keep you moving forward in your life.
  14.   Don’t get sidetracked by other people’s ideas.  There will always be other people who are doing amazing things that are different than you.  Don’t let yourself be filled with doubt because you aren’t doing what someone else is doing.  You bring your A game, and don’t worry about someone else’s A game.
  15. Ask for help.  When you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help.  It doesn’t mean you will get it, but keep asking different people.  Eventually the person who was meant to come along side you will be there.
  16. Have a place and way to vent.  It might be a long run on Saturday morning or a glass of wine with a good friend.
  17.   Don’t worry that you’re not doing things the way everyone else is.  Some people will always be ahead of you, and some people will always be behind you.  The important thing is that you know where you are going.
  18. Have a good support network.  For me the best support community turned out to be online and outside of education circles.
  19.   Accept people as they are, and know that we can only change about 10% of ourself.  People have set personalities.  Accept this.  Your only able to change one person, and that is you!  Accept this.
  20.   Make a gratitude list.  It might be something you write down or it might be an informal and mental part of your bedtime ritual before you fall asleep.
  21.   Accept the fact that not all people are trustworthy.  Decide what part of your life you want to be public {it might be big or small} and then fiercely guard the part that you want to keep private.  
  22.   Social media is rarely your friend--see #21
  23.   Remember when people are mean they are usually broken and hurting.  Their behavior says much more about them than you--especially if they make it public.  You do NOT need to engage with them EVER
  24.   Behave with integrity.  Keep your word.  Respect other people.  This is a lost are, but many years ago my dad said, “You will sleep better every night if you do the right thing.”
  25. Choose kindness whenever possible.  It’s always possible.  {I’ve seen those words credited to the Dali Lama and Mother Theresa.}  Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is walk away or stay quiet.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

First Six Weeks of Sabbatical

It's hard to believe, but I have official been on sabbatical for almost six weeks.  The objective of my sabbatical is to gain more insight into holistic education and living then sharing what I am learning.  I have been able to spend hours reading about topics like current research that says physical education and free play improve math scores in 9-10 year olds.  I have also read extensively about what was going on in education and society about one hundred years ago that lead to people like Maria Montessori and Rudolph Steiner creating such holistic applications of education that are still thriving around the world today.  I have researched mindful practices for myself and children in a classroom.  I have prepared healthy meals and moved my body more.  I have volunteered every Tuesday for painting time in my son's classroom.  I have invested hours in meetings with teachers, administrators, artists, insurance marketplace consultants, and business people.  I have felt constant fear and anxiousness juxtaposed with incredible peace and contentment.  I can feel a constant nudge forward in all areas of my life.

I have thought.  I have researched.  I have planned.  I have created.  Boy, have I created!

Here is a list of what I can remember that I have created during this sabbatical so far:

  • Promotional emails for Brave Teachers Personalized Professional Development for elementary school administrators in 5 counties of Ohio and some out of state schools
  • Created syllabi and calendars of Personalized Professional Development modules
  • Created and emailed an 18 page PDF "Administrators Guide to Personalized Professional Development"
  • Added over 6,000 words to the first draft of my book, The Transformational Classroom.
  • Taught yoga every Tuesday and Saturday morning
  • Created a Brave Yoga website
  • Started yoga for a healthy women's group on Wednesday evening
  • Did yoga on Sept. 1, with over 30 Norton Girl Scouts
  • Developing a Yoga/Art curriculum for elementary age girls, Just4Girls, that will run 9/29-11/2
  • Started writing Yoga Story Scripts and selling them on Teachers Pay Teachers
  • Created Will U Learning--simple one page printables that turn into eight page booklets and a Lesson Plan/Extension Guide to teach a wide range of social/emotional skills to elementary age children {Will U even has his own FB page!}
  • Created a workshop titled "Creativity in the Common Core Classroom" that will run live at ACoT the evening of October 6
  • Created Book Art workshops for children and adults {Kids are on Oct. 10 and adult version is the evening of Oct. 22}
  • Currently showing art at Nine Muses Gallery, ACoT First Floor Gallery, ACoT sidewalk windows, online, and in my studio
  • Created, printed, and promoting a 54 card inspiration deck from the Summer of Inspiration Watercolor Posters
  • Painted a rain barrel for a silent auction at Barberton Municipal Building, Oct. 1 - 30 for water conservation education
  • Selling Summer of Inspiration originals in my studio and online
  • Finished several pieces of art including:  Nature v Civilization, Joy is my superpower, Hope is my superpower, Fearless and a variety of small cubes
  • Working on art for an upcoming show
  • Created a Christmas Card from an original piece of art that will be formally unleashed next week
  • Invited people to start hosting Art Parties
  • Collaborated with artists to host a large Open House at ACoT and gallery sit on a regular basis
  • Wrote 32 blog posts and innumerable Facebook posts
I'm looking forward to the next six weeks, and all that they will hold!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Welcome Fall With a Secret Simple Self Care

Lemon print on handmade paper prayer flag

I LOVE Fall in Ohio.  Yesterday was a gorgeous first breath of autumnal air.  It was cool sleeping in the 50s and warm and sunny during the day in the 80s.  All of the plants are rendering the last bits of life.  Where I live there are mums everywhere.  It's simply gorgeous.

For teachers this point in the school year seems to pile on stress, fatigue starts to set in, and the first signs of illness and compromised immune systems start to raise their ugly heads.  I'm going to recommend one super simple self care tip that has made a big difference for me in the past year.  

I started drinking a mug of lemon, ginger, honey tea first thing in the morning.  You can read some of the benefits of warm lemon water HERE.  I make the mixture ahead of time in a pint mason jar.  I use the jar in about a month.  I slice up lemons and ginger root to fill the jar {2-4 lemons and a small ginger root}.  Then I fill the jar with the best honey I can afford.  I recommend including as many of these words in the honey as you can--organic, local, and raw.  For the first time at the end of August I got all three words in thanks to the Akron Honey Company.  Screw the lid on, and store in the refrigerator.

In the morning heat water, add 1 - 2 spoons of mixture to your mug, and add water.  {Sometimes I add cinnamon, too.}  I like to take a few deep breaths over the lemon infused steam.  It makes me stop for just a few moments and soak in the essence of life.  {It's easy for me to forget this in the morning rush!}

Also, when I come home and my throat is sore or my nose is stuffy I drink another mug full and breathe the steam.  I think it has made a big difference in keeping me healthier and more in touch with reality.

Let me know how it works for you!

What are you doing to take care of yourself this Fall?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Five Minutes A Day To Change Classroom Culture

If you're feeling especially challenged or overwhelmed by your new school year, then this post is really for you!  If you would like to build stronger relationships with your students, then this blog is for you.  If your a curious teacher who like to think about new things, then this blog is for you.

What I'm about to share is not new.  In fact it's probably as old as education itself.  It's just one of those things we've lost sight of.  One of those things that seems way too easy to lead to any sort of real change.

This is a game change!

At the beginning of the day as your students arrive, have only one job.  And hold the time sacred so nothing like last minute tasks can interfere.

Greet each and every one of your students at the door.  
Shake their hand.  
Let your eyes meet. 
Greet them by name.

Unless this is already part of your class or school culture, it's going to make an amazing difference.

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.  Some days you will be the only person who says that child's name in a kind and loving way.  You may be the only person who looks directly into a child's eyes and silently expresses, "I see you.  I really see you."  You will be training your students to behave is socially appropriate ways for their future job interviews.

At first it will be a challenge.  It may feel awkward.  Do it anyway.  For students who I have hard time meeting your eyes, ask them to look at your nose.

Do not let the greeting become superficial--ie Don't you look pretty today.  I try to avoid physical appearance comments unless something really changed--glasses, braces, etc.

Good morning, William. That's all it needs to be.  If you want to make it more:  How are you today?  {Listening to response, too.}  You look like you're ready to learn.  I know we're going to have a great day together.

Overtime you are instilling the belief that you care about that student.  This makes a huge difference when discipline issues arise.

If something happens and I'm not at my door then I walk around the classroom greeting students at their seats.  If you do coteaching or have a student teacher you can both do this. Or take turns while one is prepping and fielding questions.

As the teacher you will also be able to gauge so much about your students' morning.  I found it especially useful with students who had mental/emotional health concerns.

Best wishes to you.  Let me know how it works for you.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Reflective practices to change your teaching

I've been very fortunate over the course of my teaching career to have several seasons in which I was challenged to be reflective about my teaching practices.  The most notable one was the year long process toward national board certification.

When I started teaching I thought reflection was a part of all educators.  I spent hours wondering what tool was going to reach different students and improve their performance.

Here's the thing.  It never left me.  I actually internalized the fact that teachers are supposed to reflect on what we do and how it impacts individuals and the collective.  This reflection is part of what has really honed me in the last few years as a master educator.

I also understand why many teachers don't participate in it.  Just like looking in the mirror, our personal and professional flaws seem to have a spotlight beamed directly on them.  It's hard.  It's work.  It takes time.  And it is sometimes painful.

But it's so worth it!  If you want to incorporate a personal practice that yields huge benefits to your students, make it reflection.  

NOTE:  This has nothing to do with the sort of teacher evaluations that are being mandated and forced on teachers that in reality have nothing to do with authentic and empowering change.  This is the real deal.  It has nothing to do with standardized test scores and everything to do with the real impact you have on your students.  It's the sort of stuff that lets you sleep better at night rather than haunting you.

How to begin a reflective practice to change your teaching:

1.  Begin with the positive.
We are often our own worst critics, so don't let the negative overwhelm you.  Start with these:  What worked well today?  What do I want to do again?  When did I notice my students most engaged? Who was engaged?

2.  Start with just one piece of what you do.
It's easy to take on too much and give up.  Start with just one part of your week--reading groups or math stations or your weekly introductory lesson for reading or just vocabulary.  When choosing ask this:  What is one little area that can make a big difference?

3.  Track your progress over time.
Jot a few notes in a journal or notes on your phone or someplace so that you can see progress over time.  First ask--how will I record this?  What can I do to keep it super simple for me.  Then as you look back on your notes ask this:  Do I notice trends?  Does anything happen repeatedly?  What is working well for me and my students?  Is there anything obvious I can change to make this better?

4.  Find someone to share this.
It doesn't have to be formal or official, but having a trusted colleague or friend who know nothing about education can make a big difference in keeping you going.  Lots of research shows us that this accountability even informally is powerful and important.  Something to ask the other person:  Do you hear me mentioning something repeatedly?  Is there something that seems oddly absent?

5.  Honor your practice with something that brings you joy
Each week or as often as possible do something that brings you joy to honor your reflective practice.  Take a walk in the woods, get coffee with friends, create time for a hobby you enjoy, or whatever it is for you.  Honor your willingness to practice reflection, and you will continue.

I can't wait for you to discover the benefits for you and your students!

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Challenge, A Great Reveal, Updates, and a Giveaway

Today I have a challenge, a great reveal, updates and a give away.  So here we go:

The Friday CHALLENGE:  ASK YOURSELF THE QUESTIONS.  I see the world filled with people who seem to move robotically through life, without questioning much of anything.  Think about how you are impacting people and how you let people impact you.  Are your choices serving you well in your mind, body, and spirit?

I hope your fall will be filled with courageous reflection and intentional action!

The REVEAL:  To encourage and empower you to make these bold moves, I have created a card deck with 54 of my favorite watercolor quotes from this summer.  I LOVE this, and just to brag a bit, so does everyone who has seen it!  You can see it HERE RIGHT NOW!

UPDATES:  Additionally, Save the Date:  September 26, 2015, I will be selling all the original watercolors from Summer of Inspiration at an Open Studio and Online.  

GIVEAWAY:  I am giving away one Brave Inspiration Card Deck Mini Care Package on Labor Day at 9 p.m. EST.  To enter share a reflective question on the BRAVE TEACHERS FB page.

Know that your light diminishes the darkness.  So shine your little light into the world and let it reflect and become brighter as you reflect.

This is the Card Deck Mini Care Package I'm giving away!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Calm, Mindful Kids: Yoga Story Scripts

Yoga Story Scripts by Miriam Daniel

Who wouldn't want calmer, aware, flexible students?

I totally loved doing yoga with 30+ Girl Scouts yesterday evening.  Our evening focused around a story.  Most of my yoga for kids does.  I make up stories that take us through a series of poses.  The response is always fantastic when we do this.

Then I thought it might be great to share these with teachers.  Most of the stories take about 15 - 20 minutes if you move slowly through the breathing {The secret to success!}.  They would be great to wake kids up in the morning or calm kids down after recess.  The teacher tells a bit of the story and then guides the group into yoga poses.

Some of the benefits I have witnessed in using yoga with kids:

  • more body awareness
  • more focus
  • more emotional awareness
  • stronger listening skills
  • less stress, anxiety, and social issues
  • better flexibility (physically and emotionally)
I just put the first script, A Walk In The Meadow, up on my TpT store.  I think it's a great investment!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Yoga Just For Girls

I can't even tell you how much I wished I had learned the basics of yoga as a child.  Stuff like breathing to relax or calm down before a test.  Moving the body to quiet the mind.  {As a child I thought my brain ran nonstop--always curious and wondering and questioning.}

Even more I wish I had learned some body acceptance as a child.  I think the course of my adult life and relationships would have/could have been very different.  Those are thoughts for another day.

I am pleased to present Just 4 Girls, a creative yoga program that centers around stories, games, and art.  Each session has a different theme.  The first week is strength. Follow weeks include:  peace, beauty, kindness, spoken words, and gratitude.  These skills lead to lifelong healthy habits.  We will play fun simple games, practice poses within stories, and create a project to take home.

The program is geared for girls in grades 1 - 5.  Girls are asked to bring a yoga mat or beach towel and wear comfortable clothes.  The program runs on Mondays, 6 - 7 p.m., September 28 - November 2.  We will meet at the Art Center on Tusc.  {571 W. Tuscarawas Ave., Barberton OH  44203}  The six session investment is $50

Registration is open HERE

If you have questions or would like to bring this yoga to your community group or school, email me.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Meet My Friend Will+Free Stuff

This is William Ulysses DotheRightThing.  His friends call him Will.  His whole mission in life is to teach kids how to act and react in life by asking the simple question:  WILL YOU DO THE RIGHT THING?

Will has his own Facebook Page!
He is also on Google+
{He is very social, and he is hoping for many more "likes" after his appearance here today.}

Will is the main character or star of a whole world of social/emotional learning materials geared toward elementary age children.  These materials can be used by classroom teachers, guidance counselors, scout leaders, religious educators, and anyone else who works with and cares about young people.

The main focus of Will U Learning is reproducible books that are copied on a single piece of paper but make a small 8 page book.  In each book Will U asks a question, and then he helps children learn.  Each booklet includes a one page lesson plan or learning guide with suggestions for how to expand the learning with talking, writing, creating, and doing.

Today, Will U want to share some FREE resources with every person who may be interested.

First he is offering the first book and guide in this series FREE over on Teachers Pay Teachers

Then he has a Guide for Using Will U Learning Materials {also FREE at TpT!}

Finally, he asked a friend to make a video that shows everyone how to fold and cut the single sheet of paper to make an 8 page booklet.  Watch it HERE.

Watch Will's FB page for more resources and materials.  Some Will U Learning materials will be FREE and some will be a couple bucks.

Will looks forward to sharing his amazing social/emotional learning materials with you in the future.

P.S.  Please share these with every elementary teacher, scout leader, homeschooler, and anyone else you think might like these.  Thanks, in advance for your generosity of spirit!

Higher learning for young minds.  Deeper learning for young hearts.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Inspiring Change and A Challenge

Dear Amazing You,

It's Friday.  It's the last day of July.  This week the inspiration emails have all been about change.  Change is one of those tricky things we have been conditioned to fear.  I like today's quote in part because when we just let go with change we suffer so much less than when we fight it the whole way.  I'd love to here what kind of change is happening with you and how you are feeling about it.

And now for the Friday Challenge.  I'm inviting you to practice "the art of elimination."  So the challenge is responding with action to the question, "What can I take away so that my life is calmer, simpler, and more what it was meant to be?" I read a great little blog post HERE about this topic.   Miachaelangelo said that his David was in the stone clamoring to be freed.  What part of you and your life is just clamoring to be freed from the material or emotional or social or financial stuff that is trapping you and keeping you from being a beautiful masterpiece?  I would honestly love to hear your thoughts on this!

Have you seen what Brave Teachers is up to these days
I'd love to have you join in the fun! Check these out:
  • Personalized Professional Development is having a HUGE sale.  For Individual Subscriptions go HERE.  For Whole School Participation go HERE.
  • I am scheduling school consulting and coaching dates as well as workshops for all of the 2015 - 2016 school year.  Email mail and we will connect about what I can do to best support teaching and learning in the upcoming year at your school.
  • Brave Yoga:  Breathe, Stretch, Relax continues at ACoT for a few more weeks on Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 - 10:45, $8.  
  • Every Saturday, 9 - 10 a.m. I'm guiding yoga at Grace Loyal Oak UCC, 3285 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Norton 44203  for $8
  • Kids Yoga Adventure at Columbia Woods Park, Wednesday, August 5, 10 am.  Kids and their adults are invited to join games, stories, and creative adventures.  Suggested Donation $5.  Bring a yoga mat or beach towel
  • Saturday, August 8, I will be in my studio from 10:30 - 6 p.m. as part of BAM!  Barberton Art Mart.  Vendors and musicians and artists will fill the street and ACoT in downtown Barberton.
Have an amazing weekend filled with wonder,

Brave Teacher Mim

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why Subscribe To Personalized Professional Development?

"If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we always got."  {Henry Ford}

I'm creating Personalized Professional Development to give every teacher everywhere the opportunity to imagine what is possible, receive real inspiration to inspire best learning in their students, and to share love with teachers who may be a bit bruised.  I'm asked why should we choose Brave Teachers Personalized Professional Development.  Here are some of my answers:

1.  Why not?  It would be sad if your staff never tried anything new with their students.  What is keeping you from trying something innovative for yourself?  

2.  Do you every walk away from a professional development day asking yourself if the presenter has ever worked with children and if they have has it been in this century?  I am an elementary teacher who has worked in real classrooms and with real children in a variety of settings over the past 18 years.

3.  Have you every walked away from a great training on total overload unable to assimilate it all?  Personalized Professional Development is delivered in small manageable bits.  You will have time to process and try out ideas before the next bits come at you.

4.  Have you ever walked away from a PD event feeling like it was a total waste of your time?  My ideas and content are mostly fresh spins on what we already know.  Not every bit will apply to every teacher, but I can assure you it will never feel like you wasted your whole day.

5.  Do you want technology to work for you instead of the other way around?  Brave Teachers Personalized Professional Development will do just that.  It isn't a boring screencast.  It is a mashup of articles, videos, printables, lists, and podcasts delivered electronically--all created with a handmade warmth.

6.  Have you ever wished you could afford a teaching coach?  Subscribe at the Premium level and you will have email access to me all year long for your burning questions or when you just need some extra encouragement or inspiration.  I will help you personalize the resources I provide to your unique situation

For the next couple weeks I'm offering great deals for teachers who have an open heart and an open mind for the upcoming school year.  Look at your choices HERE.

You choose from three different focus modules:
  • Heart and Soul of Your Classroom:  Social/ emotional education
  • Doing Differentiation Differently
  • Teaching Young Minds Without Losing Yours
Read more about them HERE

You choose the level
  • Premium gives you extra access to my email coaching all year long and care packages for you, too.  It's currently $179 for the whole year, and on August 9th will increase to $229.  SUBSCRIBE NOW
  • Basic gives you access to all 30 email newsletters in the module you choose.  It is currently $129 for the year, and on August 9th will increase to $169.  SUBSCRIBE NOW

I can't even express to you how excited I am to work with you this school year!  This one very well may be the best school year ever!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Huge Sale on Personalized Professional Development

I wanted to share this over here.  I would be so grateful if you would pass this along, too.  Thanks!

HUGE SALE on Brave Teachers Personalized Professional Development now through August 8, 2015.

If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you have never done. {Unknown}

Friday, July 24, 2015

Some Inspiration, A Challenge, + Exciting News!

Dear Amazing And Courageous You,

Who doesn't love a little Jane Austen to inspire them on Friday?  My favorite part of this quote is that the will of others does scare me, but that fear no longer stops me.  Courage is moving me forward, and I hope it is moving you, too.

Now onto the Friday Challenge. The challenge today is. . .SPEAK TO YOURSELF WITH LOVE AND KINDNESS!  Let your internal voice be the way you speak to the people you love and cherish the most.  When negative thoughts arise, have a standard answer.  Something like, "Darling, you know that isn't the truth.  You are loved and precious.  Own it."  Remember this is a journey so honor the process.  Are you up for the challenge?

Exciting Brave Teachers news! 

I wanted you to be the first to know that Brave Teachers is offering Individual Subscriptions to Personalized Professional Development.  Betcha' this will be the best investments teachers can make in the upcoming school year.  Get all the details HERE. {There is a special price through August 8}  This would make an amazing gift for any teachers you may know!

Whole School Subscriptions are available HERE 
  • This week I'm hosting two art workshops at ACoT--Papermaking on July 28, and Book Art on July 30.  These are going to be so much fun, and I would love to have you join us!  Get details or sign up HERE
  • See several pieces of my art at the first anniversary show at Nine Muses Gallery.  Opening reception, this evening, July 24.
  • Brave Yoga:  Breathe, Stretch, Relax continues Tuesday, July 28, at ACoT for $8 per class.
  • Saturday, August 1, 9 - 10 a.m. I'm guiding yoga at Grace Loyal Oak UCC, 3285 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Norton 44203  for $8
Have a wonder-full and adventuresome weekend,

Brave Teacher Mim