Education, K-12, Parenting, Teaching Tools, Videos

The King of the Island

from "The King of the Island" by Art 5
from “The King of the Island” by artFive

One of the messages that I want to get better about conveying to my students is that of being an everyday hero.  It seems that we spend a lot of time these days trying to inspire children to “change the world for the better.”  But we forget to mention that you don’t have to do this in a dramatic fashion that becomes headline news.

Yesterday’s post on Kid President’s new television show featured a quote from Kevin Costner that speaks to the heroes we often miss – the ones who quietly live their lives making selfless choices every day. One of the videos that I’ve mentioned several times on this blog, which features Mark Bezos, is another video that I like that reminds us that small actions can make a huge impact.

Recently, I found “The King of the Island” on the Kuriositas blog, and was charmed by the short animation’s special way of portraying a father who is a hero.  When a young boy’s father disappears at sea, and he cannot remember him, he conjures up his own version of the man he lost.  But when the man returns, the boy is disappointed that his father does not live up to the superhero he pictured. However, the son slowly learns that the real man is far better than his imagined version.

I saw this quote from Josh Whedon yesterday on Mental Floss, and I think it’s applicable, “You are going to change the world, because that is actually what the world is. You do not pass through this life, it passes through you. You experience it, you interpret it, you act, and then it is different. That happens constantly. You are changing the world. You always have been.”

We are all changing the world with every choice we make.  Whether we change it for the better or not depends on our many small actions each and every day.

For more Inspirational Videos for Students, check out my Pinterest Board here.

Education, K-12, Motivation, Parenting, Teaching Tools, Videos

Kid President: Declaration of Awesome

Quote from Kid President: Declaration of Awesome, Episode 1
Quote from Kid President: Declaration of Awesome, Episode 1

What do a llama, Kevin Costner, corn dogs, and Rainn Wilson all have in common?

Kid President, of course!

Many of you are familiar with the Kid President videos.  One of his most famous is his “Pep Talk” video, which is included on my Inspirational Videos for Students Pinterest Board.  You can view more of his videos by going to his site.

Kid President has just launched a television show on The Hub network.  It’s called, “Kid President: Declaration of Awesome.”  (You can see the schedule, and find out which local channel is The Hub here.) One of the show’s producers is Rainn Wilson – yep, this guy.  The first episode premiered last Saturday, June 21, 2014.  Don’t worry if you missed it, though.  You can view the full video here.

In the premier, Kid President investigates the concept of “heroes.” He interviews Kevin Costner for some insight, and then features a pair of girls who are great friends working for a cause.  As the short (about 22 min.) episode progresses, Kid President starts revising his “Wall of Heroes” to include real-life examples, rather than superheroes like corn dogs who accidentally got dipped in radioactive grease.  Kid President asks the viewer, “Who would you put on your Wall of Heroes?”  This reminds me of the Dream Team project my students do.

There are many quotable moments in the episode.  One of my favorite lines, which is simple but true, comes from Kid President himself, “If you want to be awesome, treat people awesome.”  Definitely great words to live by!

Kid President Medal of Awesome

Books, Education, K-12, Language Arts, Parenting, Reading

Books for Gifted Kids

I’m not really sure about the title for this post – because I certainly do not think these recommendations apply solely to children who have been identified as Gifted.  However, as a teacher of gifted kids, I know that parents often ask me for ideas on reading material.  After reading Wonder, and commenting about it on yesterday’s post, I thought I would share a few other resources for quality books to which you can direct parents.

NPR just posted a list on August 5th called, “The Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf:  100 Must-Reads for Kids 9-14.” The list was created with input from the NPR audience, and includes most of the classics I read as a child.  There are a few new ones, including Wonder, on the list.

For the younger set, the great host of “Not Just Child’s Play” has a couple of posts with lists of book recommendations that you might want to view – “Stories About Real People” and “Books That Celebrate Differences.

Although it is certainly not comprehensive, I have a Pinterest Board of recommendations here.

One book that I would like to mention, in particular, is Heroes for My Daughter by Brad Meltzer.  I bought this book for my own daughter as a gift for her 5th grade graduation.  I took pictures of all of her elementary school teachers and made a collage that looked similar to the inside cover of the book.  Each teacher signed it.  I read a story from this book each night to my daughter before we move on to whatever current chapter book we are reading.  The biographies are short, and usually include a quote that we discuss.  The included heroes are a diverse group – from the Three Stooges to Julia Child, and we both are learning about history as well as admirable attributes that led to positive change in the world.  Meltzer has a similar book, Heroes for My Son, available, as well.

Google “books for gifted” and you will get a plethora of results.  I’ve tried to scale it down for you a bit here as it can be a bit overwhelming!  Hopefully, these links give you some good starting points.