Category Archives: Motivation

Graduation Inspiration (Reblog)

This is a reblog of a post I originally published in 2015. 

As graduation season rolls around once again, I thought I would compile a list of videos that I’ve found over the years that eloquently describe the hopes and dreams I have for my students in the future. I’ve placed the length of each video beside it.  Not all of these are graduation speeches, but they all give one or more of the following messages: Be Kind, Work Hard, and Make the Most of Your Time and Abilities.  Most of these videos (and many more) can be found on my “Inspirational Videos for Students” Pinterest Board.  As always, please preview any video before you show it to your students.

graduation

Thoughts on Kindness from George Saunders (2:12)

Making It from StoryCorps (2:43)

If You’ve Never Failed, You’ve Never Lived (1:16)

Ashton Kutcher’s Teen Choice Award Speech (4:40), Ashton Kutcher on his Teen Choice Speech (3:15) – better for older students

The Time You Have in Jellybeans (2:44)

212: The Extra Degree Inspirational Movie (2:59)

Kid President Graduation Speech (4:12)

The Real Purpose of Your Life (2:18)

These last two are my all-time favorite videos to show departing students:

Jeff Bezos at Princeton (18:44 – his part starts around 6:27)

Mark Bezos: A Life Lesson from a Volunteer Firefighter (4:40)

For more resources, Amy Borovoy curated a wonderful list last May for Edutopia. You can find it here.

The Songs Birds Sing

Fans of the fabulous Kid President know that he is part of a dynamic duo.  Behind the scenes of all of the Kid President videos is his brother-in-law, Brad Montague.  Now Brad has started a YouTube channel, and his first video is just as inspirational as all of the others he has produced.  I can’t help but think that Brad’s new dad status might have been a motivating factor for this story.  Or maybe he saw Hamilton recently…

By the way, I’m adding this video to my “Inspirational Videos for Kids” Pinterest Board. Check it out for more great short films!

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-5-29-48-pm
Screen shot from, “The Songs That Birds Sing”

GoNoodle Has an App!

My students, particularly those in the K-3 grade levels, have really enjoyed using GoNoodle for brain breaks in our classroom.  The kids enjoy the music, the great variety of videos, and the movement.

Now students can log in to their own iOS devices at home to jump, dance, and sing with their favorite GoNoodle tunes. The iOS app is free, but students will need a parent to sign up and log them in the first time.  Make sure the child has a good place to set up his or her device for viewing while participating (an Apple TV is great for this!) so he or she can have hands-free fun!

GoNoodle is a great way to get the family moving before or after a heavy holiday meal, or after a long car trip to grandma’s house 🙂

Download the free GoNoodle app now!
Download the free GoNoodle app for iOS now!

10 Common Phrases Teachers Should Never Say to Students

A few years ago, I posted, “Actually, There is Such a Thing as a Stupid Question,” which listed some of the ridiculous questions I’ve asked  my students in the past.  In my latest post for Fusion, “10 Common Phrases Teachers Should Never Say to Students,” I’ve added to my inventory of transgressions.  I confess that I’ve said all of the listed phrases (except for #8), and most of them were stated more than once.  In fact, #3 and #9 are still pretty difficult for me to suppress on a daily basis…

image source
image source

For my previous articles for Fusion, check out the links below:

Making Tough Choices

Decisions, decisions.  Some are certainly easier to make than others, as many people are discovering on this 2016 Election Day in the United States…

Kid President just released a timely video for the occasion.  Happily, it doesn’t just apply to election decisions. In fact, my 2nd graders have been discussing “Thinking Hats,” and “Making Tough Choices with Kid President,”  was the perfect supplement to a lesson on the importance of thinking about your thinking.  “Be thoughtful,” Kid President advises, after warning against impulsivity, doing nothing, and following along with everyone else.  Pretty sage advice from someone who isn’t even old enough to vote yet.

screen shot from, "Making Tough Choices with Kid President"
screen shot from, “Making Tough Choices with Kid President”

I will be adding this video to my “Inspirational Videos for Students” collection.  Here is a free printable of my Thanksgiving Thinking Hats Review if you are interested!

Also, if you haven’t seen the campaign projects from Joelle Trayers’ Kindergarten class, and need an election day smile, you must click on this link!

Oh, and by the way, looking for gift suggestions?  Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome is one of the many recommendations you will find on my “Gifts for the Gifted” page!

7 Classroom Management Myths and How to Combat Them

In my latest post for Fusion, I wrote about some of the common misconceptions that teachers have about managing behavior, and gave suggestions for alternatives.  You can read all about here.

Here are some of my other articles on Fusion:

Click here to get advice on classroom management!
Click here to get advice on classroom management!

The Scariest Thing in the World

Kid President covers the topic of the scariest thing in the world in his latest video, and gives us all the best advice – to live our awesome lives to the fullest.  Shout out to Damien for a great dance!  I will be adding this my collection of “Inspirational Videos for Students.”

Screen shot from Kid President's, "The Scariest Thing"
Screen shot from Kid President’s, “The Scariest Thing”