Opportunity for Optimism

March 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Quotable Quotations

To open each day, one of the first things I like to do in the morning is turn up the blinds in my home and let natural light shine through.  Similarly, when I walk into my classroom in the morning and find the dark curtains closed, I immediately open them for a burst of energy to kickstart the day.  

Once I have this natural light streaming in and the energy flowing, there’s one little trick I do to intensify those positive vibes.  Almost considered old school with our iPad screens projecting these days, I scribble a handwritten note on the board.  It can be a quotation or word of the day, a run-down of the day’s agenda, or a simple “Good Morning.”  As messy as my handwriting can be, it’s a surprisingly effective way to lift the spirits.

The act of writing something down – and then reading it – forces our minds to focus on those words and the feelings they create. Try this:  write a happy little note or quotation and put it in a place that you’ll see often: on the refrigerator, on a post-it note stuck onto your bathroom mirror, on a scrap paper tucked inside your wallet or purse… Every time your eyes gaze upon that note, make a point to take a moment and really READ the words. Think about what they mean, why you wrote them, and how they make you feel. Take a moment to try this little trick and I bet your lingering winter days will feel a bit warmer.   By the same token, tuck a handwritten encouraging word into the belongings of someone you love to discover later in the day and, voilà, you’ve just made his or her day a little brighter.  

That’s the power of writing . . .

Here’s something on one of my blackboards at home right now . . .

A positive quotation is a gentle reminder that each day brings another opportunity for optimism.

A positive quotation is a gentle reminder that each day brings another opportunity for optimism.


An Extra Special To-Do List

December 17, 2012 by  
Filed under My Writing


from Bono

While my curriculum and administrative to-dos are still prevalent  to complete this week before Winter Break, the items below need significant attention.  In the wake of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, now more than ever students need to know we are all in this world together to collectively maintain an environment where we continue feeling safe to learn and grow.

Before I step into my school building this morning, I feel compelled to jot down a few extra to-dos for each day this week:

~ Make sure I convey just how happy I am to see each one of my students.

~ Remind myself that I teach the student, not the subject.  

~ Call a parent to tell how wonderful his/her child is doing.  

~ Leave a positive note in a colleague’s mailbox just because.

~ Smile and listen. Answer questions with extra patience and care.

~ Continue doing the great things we’re doing.  Move forward with hope.

. . . . .

What Gram Gave

May 13, 2012 by  
Filed under My Writing

Two weeks ago, my grandmother passed away.  She was 95 years old and, for 93 of those 95 years, she led a life full of fun and passionate love.  Still traveling at age 75, still throwing a strong, fast (base)ball at 85, still driving alone at age 90, I thought it fitting on this Mother’s Day morning to pay tribute to her.  I love you, Gram:


The Gram I remember . . . strong, jovial all-Italian woman 🙂


As my brother wrote in the eulogy read at her ceremony:  In a world where people are consumed with what others think of them, Gram always seemed more interested in simply being herself, consequences be damned.

This is so true.  That brings me to the first life lesson Gram taught me:

1.  Be yourself and “Don’t give a damn” (her words!!!) what others think.  She always spoke her mind, laughed when she wanted to laugh and never EVER worried about what others thought.  She never had high blood pressure, never was a nervous person – why, because she didn’t worry about “the small stuff.”

Gram and I, 3 years ago. . . she was starting to become the “Incredibly Shrinking Gram” as we lovingly joked.

2.  Eat what you want to eat but be sure you eat well.  I remember Gram verbally taking inventory of whatever was on her plate when we sat down for a meal:  “I got my meat, I got my “potatas” (her pronunciation), my veggies – always eat your veggies.”  Yep, I can hear her now.  Never one to skip dessert, Gram was living proof that as long as one eats in moderation . . . one can remain healthful on the inside.  🙂

3.  Make regular doctor and dentist visits.  Gram never missed doctor and dentist visits; in fact, I think she rather enjoyed them as I enjoy spa visits today.  (Never mind she dated her dentist . . . teehee)

4.  Always laugh.  Gram innately knew that laughter is the best medicine.  Also from my brother’s written eulogy:  It was her silliness that made her so much fun to be around and kept you wondering what she would say next. ALWAYS armed with a good story–the details of which would change slightly with each telling–it seemed Gram’s mission in life to make people laugh.    Let’s just say that if Gram were at a party in which any of my friends or significant others were present, I had to be prepared to be embarrassed – either from a story Gram would tell about me; or simply from a story Gram would tell.  Period.  🙂  We can hear her laugh now!!  Loudly I might add – she was a loud person.

5.  Do what you got to do to make yourself feel better and move on. My grandmother was never one to hesitate to do things to make herself healthier or happier.  She walked A LOT.  She took a bath every single night.  She made sure she ALWAYS got plenty of sleep.  She slept A LOT.  She read many books (refer to the little Shakespeare books I found recently in her home, posted on my Instagram).  I recall her subscriptions to Reader’s Digest, Good HouseKeeping, and Ladies’ Home Journal . . . all of which she would read cover-to-cover.  She watched the news avidly.  She viewed many movies and was an old movie trivia queen.

6.  It’s never too late to find the love of your life.  She found the love of her life at age 70!!!!   This was years after my grandfather passed away.  (sadly, my grandparents stayed married but were not truly compatible.)  Yes, she found her Joseph at a Democratic party she was working at.  We even called him “Grandpa Joe.”  They had five wonderful years together before he passed away of cancer – but, in talking with her, one would think she spent her whole life with him the way she always talked him up.  It was love so many of us wish for!!!  I still remember their little wedding.

7.  Say “I love you” every time you see a person you love.  I’m getting better at this – Gram ALWAYS  said I love you at the end of every conversation.

8.  Be strong.  This is a woman who lost her only child – my father – when he died suddenly of a heart attack at age 37. She held her head high (literally) through that tough time and even managed to throw laughs in here and there.  My mother just recently recalled something my Gram told her at my father’s funeral, “If one of you had to die, it’s better for the children that it was my son rather than you.”    WOW!!!!

Gram, I know you are happy and peaceful now at “The Happy Hunting Ground” . . . as you used to refer to it, reuniting with so many open arms welcoming you:  you survived your two brothers and three sisters (whom I also loved dearly!!); you survived two husbands; you survived your son.  You will never be forgotten.  You were such an integral part of this family.  I love you.


Metaphorically Speaking

August 25, 2011 by  
Filed under My Writing

What inanimate object would you compare yourself to?   Check out how some of my students very cleverly describe themselves . . . While not all objects below are inanimate,  you can see, I have beautiful students.

  • I am a baseball mitt because I have to be taken care of in order to do what I can do.
  • I am an iguana because I am sly and stay out of trouble when I need to.
  • I am a foreign film because not everyone understands me.
  • I am a pair of Converse shoes because I am laid back and casual.
  • I am a pair of dumbells, dangerous if I am wrongly used but excellent if I am being used for the good of others.
  • I am a bad trader because I give but don’t require anything in return.
  • I am a cup of hot chocolate because I am warm and sweet.
  • I am a picture frame because I hold many special memories.
  • I am a waterproof jacket because it takes me a while to absorb information
  • I am a lamp because I brighten up the dark and give a positive outlook on things.
  • I am an ant because I need to live in a large group to survive.
  • I am a bill at Congress just waiting for the world to know me.
  • I am a tree because I have deep cultural roots.
  • I am the internet because I am full of bad jokes and random facts.
  • I am a plane because I’m never on time.
  • I am a rubber band because I am flexible but I can break.
  • I am an elephant because I have a great memory and rarely forget.
  • I am a brick wall because nothing will knock me down.

Babies Make the Best Teachers

April 17, 2011 by  
Filed under My Writing

A needed piece of sunshine and moonbeams on this evening . . . .

Spend some time with a baby and you’ll understand what life is all about.  Babies love unconditionally.  They are not selective or judgmental or prejudice. Babies are joyful and happy just because. Babies find wonder in the most trivial pursuits and revel in how wondrous this world truly is.  Babies can smile even in the midst of a crying spell.  In The Power of Intention, Dr. Wayne D. Dyer declares it well:

  • “Just watch little babies.  They’ve done nothing to be so happy about.  They don’t work; they poop in their pants; and they have no goals other than to expand, grow, and explore this amazing world.  They love everyone, they’re completely entertained by a plastic bottle or goofy faces, and they’re in a constant state of joy.”

“Constant state of joy” . . . I really like that.  Even if you don’t have a special baby in your life, you certainly were once this blissful as a babe yourself.  I’m a firm believer that we can reach that state again if we just be.   Take Dr. Dyer’s advice and “vow to emulate” a baby’s joy.


Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Workout

February 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Exercise, Listing through Life

Happy February!  Having a wee bit of trouble keeping up with your new year’s resolutions?  No worries – here are some ideas for embracing the sheer joy of exercise!

1.  Invest in a spray tan and stroll into the gym with your newly applied color.  It’ll accentuate your muscles and make you feel fabulous flexing them.  My A+ recommendation = Get Your Tan On

2.  Equipment everyone should have at home when you can’t get to the gym:

a.  10 & 15 pound dumbbells

b.  a jump rope (fun, inexpensive, easy cardio!)

c.  an exercise ball – there are so many exercises you can do with this from performing crunches while sitting on the ball to lying on the ground with the ball squeezed between your calves and performing leg raises.

d.  your able-bodied self! (push ups, sit ups, lunges, squats, kicks, etc . . . none of these powerhouse moves absolutely require a piece of equipment)

Honestly, that is all you truly need to get in a solid workout at home.  Check out my Workout for the Weary for more info.

3.  Treat yourself to a new exercise outfit.  My A+ recommendation for the ladies = the Best Yoga Pants Ever!  Trust me!!

4.  Schedule hot yoga, massage, and a mani & pedi all in the same day.  I did this once and can’t wait to do it again.  Heaven on Earth!  My A+ place for hot yoga =  The Only Guaranteed Moment is This One

5.  Break out of your mold and try a new exercise or use a piece of equipment that you’ve never used before at the gym.

6.  Try a new type of cardio.  I just played racquetball for the first time – very fun!!!  Additionally, here’s a review of a class that holds benefits for all gym goers:  Improve Posture and Poise with Pam’s Pilates and Progression in Pam’s Pilates

7.  Can’t commit to one gym?  I just learned about this thanks to TimeOut Chicago!  It’s a Yoga Fitness Passbook that allows you to try one class at many yoga studios.  Genius!!

8.  One goal on my list for this year – and it should be yours too:  schedule a photo shoot with a physique photographer!!  It’ll motivate you to get into tip-top shape.

9.  Double your repetitions on all exercises for a month, then check out your cuts in the mirror!

10.  Check out my favorite resources for fitness facts:  Muscle & Fitness Hers and Oxygen.  Both of these magazines are packed with step-by-step exercise instruction, nutrition nuggets and inspiring fitness facts.  Gentlemen, Muscle & Fitness is highly recommended!

Top 10 Things for English Teachers to Do on a Snow Day

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Listing through Life

I’m sitting here watching the news getting more than a little anxious about our pending potential blizzard.  I know my East Coast colleagues can’t say the same but my school district has yet to declare a snow day this year; in fact, we didn’t partake in the snow dance last year either.  While the amount of snow the wise weathermen are declaring is daunting, I’d really like just one measly snow day . . . just one.  After all, there’s so much we teachers can do to remain our productive selves.  Here are the top ideas.  What would you add to this to-do list?

1.  Always wanted to create a blog?!  Snow days are perfect days to begin one.  If you’re creating a blog for your classroom, I highly recommend edublogs.org.  Edublogs is free (or $40 for the ad-free Pro version) and student-friendly with helpful hints every step of the way.  Check out my latest, newest classroom blog for my senior expository writing class:  Writing Well

2.  Check out the archives of #engchat for all the great convos you’ve missed.  You’ll pick up insightful ideas from a resourceful network.

3.  Read, read, read!!!!  Curl up with one or more of the books piled up on your nightstand.  I’ve got Before I Fall and Sisters Red waiting for me.

4.  Make ahead a scrumptious lunch to bring to school tomorrow.  My recommendation:  Baby spinach leaves + dried cranberries + grilled chicken + cinnamon roasted pecans + pomegranate vinaigrette = one amazing lunch! (Thanks @MichelleLMyers!)

5.  Bake a batch of cookies, brownies or cupcakes to bring to your students.  They will always remember you for it!  OR bake a batch for your colleagues to share in the office.  A favorite in my office:  Mint Chocolate Brownies

6.  Plan ahead!!  Vow to plan at least two week’s worth of lessons for at least one class.  If you’re so inclined, do this for all your classes and/or increase it to one month’s worth.

7.  Organize that inbox!!!  Create folders for your work emails and organize them!!!  Make a folder for each class, a folder for technology tips, a folder for student information, etc.

8.  Exercise.  A healthy teacher is a happy teacher.  Try my Workout for the Weary that will take you about 15 minutes to complete.

9.  Of course, catch up on that pile of papers or set of blogs to grade!!  You know I had to include this one.  Maybe the least fun of ideas but perhaps the one that will make you feel most refreshed when you return.

10.  Take time for fun.  Snow days are as exciting for teachers as they are for students.  When was the last time you made a snow angel, built a snowman, sled down a hill, had a snowball fight?

The Importance of Collaboration

January 23, 2011 by  
Filed under My Writing

I made a poster out of this and have it hanging in each classroom that I teach. 

The Importance of Collaboration


We remember . . .


  • 10 percent of what we read
  • 20 percent of what we hear
  • 30 percent of what we see
  • 50 percent of what we both see and hear
  • 70 percent of what we talk about with others

Thus, the act of collaboration itself raises the reading comprehension of every student in this class.  Let’s collaborate!!

**Adapted from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers

Do You Have a Goodness Allergy?

January 17, 2011 by  
Filed under My Writing

I err on the optimistic side – arguably, to a fault – consistently attempting to see the good in everyone and the positive outcomes in every situation.  Moreover, I tend to express more than the average intensity of spirit or enthusiasm. And I’ve been known to shout out in glee for seemingly no reason at all.  At times, my positiveness is tested during everyday affairs such as promoting new initiatives to disgruntled colleagues or during much more significant transitions such as my father’s unexpected death and my divorce.   As I blogged a few days ago on my One Cannot Earn an F in Life post, life is full of lessons large and small in which we may stumble but always learn from and become a better, stronger person for it.  That’s why it can be difficult for me to understand consistently pessimistic people.  Why choose to be sad or mad or resentful?  Yes, it is a choice.

As Iyanla Vanzant describes in her book Until Today!  Daily Devotionals for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind, someone with a “goodness allergy” finds something wrong when things are going well.  Undoubtedly, as you read this, someone you know is coming to mind.  Every one of us knows someone like this.  A person such as this tends to focus upon what happened yesterday rather than on the good he is experiencing today.  Just as a person allergic to cats tries to stay away from the little critters, a person allergic to good shuns happiness by believing nothing good will occur.  Believing begets reality.

A diagnosis for a goodness allergy includes relying on the past.  It’s safer because the past is familiar and doesn’t require doing something scary or taking a risk – in fact, it doesn’t require doing anything at all except pining.  A goodness allergic stays mad about what happened in the past, keeping the argument going.  When the allergy really flares up, this person finds something wrong with how good came or who brought the good.  This person questions why he is receiving the good and how much it is going to cost.

A goodness allergy is caused by fear.  Fear of getting hurt.  Fear of losing what one has.  Fear that one doesn’t deserve good because of something done in the past.  Fear that if one opens up his heart and mind to receive good, he will have nothing to complain about.  At the very, very heart of a goodness allergy is the fear that if nothing is wrong, then one must be all right – and that would be just too good to be true.

True to my optimism, I believe there is a cure.  It may not occur right away, the “medicine” may take some time to take effect, but anyone can curtail the symptoms if not erase the allergy altogether.  First, acknowledge the allergy.  All too often those with the strongest allergies deny it.  Second, write it down.  I’m a firm believer in the power of writing, and writing it down can be one way to diminish the allergic symptoms.  If one spends time writing down all the good things that have happened in a given day (for oneself and because of oneself), it may be easier to concretely see all the good that is truly happening.  Ponder over the list and reflect on how you really feel about all the good that you’ve received and have done.  The “itch” of the allergy will dissipate soon and be replaced with the contagious feeling of peace and joy.  And when all else fails, never underestimate the power of a smile.  🙂

A Lovely List of Lists

January 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Listing through Life

I ♡ lists!  Making lists provides a provocative, probing expedition into your mind, heart and soul.  I invite everyone who reads this to complete one of these lists!!   In the classroom, this provides a fabulous writing warm-up or a lesson in itself.  Students can choose one item on their lists to elaborate on further.  Let’s list!!

A Lovely List of Lists

~ List all the names you’ve been called, endearing and not so

~ List what’s consistently in your garbage

~ List the things you think you can’t live without

~ List the transitions in your life that taught you the most

~ List what you learned from each of your ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends

~ List the times you said yes when you wish you said no OR  vice versa

~ List the foods you’d eat if you’d never ever gain calories or fat

~ List the toys, clothes and other items from your childhood you wished you’d saved

~ List all the magazines you subscribe to

~ List words that touch your soul

Some of these prompt disclosure of very personal pieces of information; nevertheless, I can’t wait to complete mine in future posts.  I promise I will.  And I have ideas for more lists when these are complete!  In the meantime, see a smattering of GG’s Listing Through Life previous lists:

~ Things You Can Never Do Too Many Times

~ What I’ve Learned In Life So Far

~ First Lines In Literature

~ Reasons The Newspaper Won’t Die

Care to share your list?!

One Cannot Earn an F in Life

January 13, 2011 by  
Filed under My Writing

It’s that time of year at many schools, the end of the semester, the point in the school year during which teachers hear all too often too late, the infamous question, “What can I do to raise my grade?”  I get that same sensation of despair when a student earns an F as I did back as a first year teacher.  Even after all the extra encouragements, the extra times before or after class, the reminders, the talking and emailing parents, the tutoring . . . . we teachers can’t help but wonder what more could be done . . . it’s the nature of the beast of the biz.

The fact is that we ultimately teach the students NOT the subject.  Before she hired me, the principal of my school (now our superintendent!) asked me which I teach – no brainer – I instantly declared the students.   Yes, we have a curriculum to follow but it is the life lessons that students walk away with that help shape them into the bright, capable young adults they soon become.

Case in point . . . one of my sophomore reading students, upset over his grades and the realization he completed too little too late, wrote himself off as a failure.  I stopped him right in his tracks today and asked him, “Did you know there’s no such thing as failing in life?  You absolutely cannot fail.”  He shot back a quizzical stare as I continued to explain that, yes, he may have to attend summer school or take a class he doesn’t want to take, but under no circumstances that matter in life can he ever truly fail.  He may stumble as he is stumbling now with his grades but he can use that despair to push himself forward.

A young man may break an arm but perhaps gain some more mobility in the other arm and appreciate dexterity all the more when the break heals.  A driver may get lost but discover an uncharted road with special sights she may never have seen had she not taken the wrong turn.  A woman may lose something, have something taken away at a time she believes she cannot do without it.  Something else eventually replaces the loss, something special she may not have gained otherwise.

In other words . . . regardless of what happens, when it happens, or how it happens, the one thing one absolutely cannot do is fail.  Live and learn is a cliché but it’s the truth.  Our hardest stumbles can lead to our greatest triumphs.  Yes, some of us even gain scars from those stumbles but all scars fade as time goes on.  We can live peacefully with those scars and move on.

We may not always get an A in school or an A on a GG review,  🙂 but we cannot fail in life.  Move through every experience and situation with grace, knowing your success is assured.

Collaborating Words

January 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Quotable Quotations

Fresh from this evening’s EC Ning Webstitute, “Work with Me:  The Essence of Authentic Collaboration,”

I’m devoting my most recent collection of Quotable Quotations to the art of collaboration.  Teamwork!

  • “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” ~Henry Ford
  • “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” ~Isaac Newton  Ask the experts, work with the best of the best.
  • “Individually, we are one drop.  Together, we are an ocean.” ~ Ryunosuke Satoro
  • “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” ~ Anonymous
  • “Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it.” ~Bill Bradley   . . . a good formula to follow
  • “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe   A little goes a long way if we all pitch in.
  • “One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites.”  ~ Jin Kwon
  • “It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.” ~ Anonymous
  • “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” ~ Henry Ford  Everything has a way of falling into place.
  • “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery . . . The author of one of my favorites, “The Little Prince.”
  • “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” ~ Andre Gide  I like this one a lot!!

A Unique Show of Spirit

December 4, 2010 by  
Filed under My Writing

Students appreciate when teachers demonstrate commitment and take that extra step (in this case, literally!) for them.  My fingers are flying on the keyboard because I’m still on a high from the success of an initiative I coordinated at my school – an initiative to showcase our staff’s unity and commitment to the spirit of our school.

This video showcases just how inspiringly excited the students were over the fabulous staff participation!  One of the teachers up front, you can’t tell here, but she’s got goosebumps! 😉

It all started thanks to my former high school French teacher.  She shared a video on FB this past May, depicting what her colleagues at Leyden Township conjured up at an assembly to surprise the students.  I was so inspired by this “flash mob” performance that I instantly wanted to do it!!  We’ve never done anything of the sort at my school, and I knew that the students would absolutely love it.  I imagined teachers, administrators, secretaries, custodians – everyone – to be out there on the gym floor.  During the last week of school in June, I proposed the idea to my principal for the following year.  He didn’t hesitate to say, “Go for it,” nor did he blink when I told him the catch – he had to dance smack dab in the center!!!

Over the summer, I brainstormed songs to use and dabbled with WavePad to mix the music.  I choreographed the majority of the dance and divided it into four sections with the idea that more staff members would enter at each point until the gym floor was completely full.  My principal and I decided the Winter Sports assembly in December would allow enough time for coordination.  That seemed ions away but as all teachers know, every year seems to trickle away faster than the last.  The middle of October crept in quickly and I finalized the dance with the help of two wonderful cheerleading coaches at my school.  Finally, it was time to announce the big event.  At an all-staff meeting, I explained the flash mob and emphasized that we must keep this a secret from students – hence the whole idea behind a flash mob, a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place and perform a surprise act.  I shared a mob video – there was so much laughter in the auditorium, I knew I had them all hooked . . . or so I thought. . .

When dealing with 200+ people, you can’t please them all.  About a week later, when I sent out the email detailing rehearsals I started to get a little slack:  “This really isn’t a good time with everything else we have going on” or “I can’t dance.”  I didn’t get discouraged, knowing all worthy causes require a little effort.  I sent out a second email explaining that participation was completely voluntary, that rehearsals were not mandatory, and that I’d be placing instructional videos online so that people could practice at home at their own convenience – including from the back (the key to making dance instruction easy).

I became a little nervous about participation with only about 25-40 people coming to rehearsals at a time. hmmm . . .  As time drew closer, more started to trickle in but I still was nervous because we never practiced as a whole group. With a late start date scheduled the Tuesday before our Friday performance,  I asked administration for just a half-hour before PLC work to congregate in the gym for an all-staff run-through.  That was when I knew it was a guaranteed success – I was floored by the turnout!  With the microphone in one hand, I excitedly walked everyone through Section 4 (the last section in which those that never came to a rehearsal would enter upon).  They mastered it within two takes.  We ran through the whole thing a few times, I got goosebumps, and called it a rap.

The rest of the week was nothing but thrilling . . . Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I couldn’t walk in the hallway without a teacher or staff member exclaiming excitement:  “Thank you for making my retirement year so memorable” or “I was sick all last month, and now I have something to look forward to” or “We needed something like this to boost morale around here.”  WOW, let me just say it is a dream to have such a supportive administrative, faculty and staff!!!

For those thinking about coordinating this at your own school, the instructional videos turned out to be invaluable.  With my Flip camera, we taped 6 instructional videos:  1 front view of entire dance with music, 1 back view of entire dance with music (back view to ease coordination), and 1 of each ‘section’ in which I “walk through” and explain each step without the music (all back view).  I placed the videos on YouTube, keeping them on ‘private’ to avoid prying eyes.  There were many people who practiced entirely at home and surprisingly showed up at a last-minute rehearsal completely familiar the routine.

The bottom line is just as many of the staff members left their comfort zone to try something new, we’re asking students to not be afraid to ‘put themselves out there’ and join new clubs, take on more challenges in the classroom and commit to the spirit of our school.  The flash mob proved an exciting, memorable way to get that message across.

A+ to the teachers, teacher assistants, administrators, guidance counselors, and support staff who kept this a complete secret, made the commitment to learn this dance and shoved aside any hesitations to act silly in front of the students.  A+ to the students for being the best audience ever!!  They kept us motivated to move just as they keep us motivated to inspire in the classroom.

Here’s a closer recording taken by one of my students.  You don’t get the impact of the overwhelming number of participants but it’s a clearer view of the dance itself:


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