Integrate Honesty Games into Your Class!

It’s honesty month! Master Joe Pena from Powerful Words Member School, Boston Tae Kwon Do in Massachusetts suggests integrating some honesty games into your curriculum this month!  Here are two of his favorites that are working great at his school:

  1. Dodge Ball: The children line up in two lines facing one another.  Each team has several soft balls to toss at the other team’s legs.  If you’re tagged by a ball, you’re out!  The children learn honesty in action.
  2. Noodle Games: The “It” Child is given a pool noodle.  All the children are told to run around the training floor.  If the child tags another child with the noodle, that child is out.

The other day, Master Pena told me that during the noodle game, one of the 5 year old children raised his hand and said, “so and so is not being honest. I tagged him but he’s not being honest and sitting down.”  What’s interesting here is not that the child is speaking up, but the words he’s choosing to say.  He is showing that he understands the concept of honesty and can use it correctly to illustrate a point.

Please don’t forget for one moment the impact of what you choose to teach everyday.  You are critical in your students’ development.  Through Powerful Words, your curriculum, and your creativity, you are creating leaders with character.

If you’re using any other honesty games, please let us know so we can post them up for everyone in the Powerful Words family to use!  We always loved “bowling” in which the children were the pins!  The children jump over or side step a ball or other soft object (we always used the tops of the heavy bags that slid right off the bases) that were tossed by the teachers or teen helpers.  The kids loved it.  Again, if you got tagged, you needed to be honest, and take yourself out of the game.  Last one standing was the winner.

Have a great honesty month!

Advertisements

Gymnastics Injuries: Like Football for Girls?

Here is an excerpt from an Important article in Bay State Parent Magazine’s May issue.

GYMNASTS Tumble & Vault Themselves Into The ER


NATIONAL STUDY SAYS GYMNASTICS HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST INJURY RATES OF ALL GIRLS’ SPORTS

BY jennifer lucarelli

THE FACTS

600,000 kids, mostly girls, participate in gymnastics

• Nearly 27,000 gymnasts get serious injured each year, according to the national study. These numbers are similar to ice hockey, soccer, and cheerleading.

• Most injuries happen at schools and recreation centers, where supervision is lacking.

• Injury rates tend to spike during Olympic years, of which this is one.

THE STUDY

Contrary to what some parents may think, gymnastics is considered by some as the football of girls sports when it comes to injuries.

Though it’s a graceful and exciting sport to watch and participate, a new national study, the first-of-its kind, shows gymnastics has one of the highest injury rates of all girls’ sports, ranking it among contact sports like hockey and soccer.

The study, conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, compiled gymnastic related injuries from emergency rooms nationwide from 1990 to 2005.

The data revealed that children age 6 to 17 averaged 27,000 injuries per year. That totals nearly 426,000 injuries during the 16-year study.

“Many parents do not typically think of gymnastics as a dangerous sport,” said study senior author Lara McKenzie, PhD, MA, principal investigator for the Ohio hospital in a release. “In fact, many parents consider it an activity. Yet gymnastics have the same clinical incidence of catastrophic injuries as hockey.” Read the rest of the article.

Randy Pausch: On Not Giving Up on Your Students

**This article is posted in an altered form on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog as a service to all of our fabulous Powerful Words family schools throughout the world. —————————————————————————————

“Experience is what you get is when you didn’t get what you want…We send our kids out to play football or soccer or swimming or whatever it is… for indirect learning..we don’t actually want them to learn football… We send our kids out to learn much more important things; teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance, etc. etc.” –Randy Pausch

The article below was in the March Powerful Words Newsletter– since Perry Bateson in Canada just reminded me about the Randy Pausch video (thank-you!), I figured I’d post it here for all of you. (The full YouTube version is over an hour– well worth it, so pull up a chair– but there is a shortened version (10 minutes) that played on Oprah for your convenience).

Aren’t you ruining my child’s self esteem?

Mrs. Phillips came to talk to me while her son, Patrick, age 8, was in class. “Patrick was upset the other day because Guro Jason corrected three times on one of his skills. When you tell him he’s doing something wrong, aren’t you ruining his self esteem?”

This story came to mind today when I was watching a video of the inspirational “last lecture” of Randy Pausch, who’ll likely die of liver cancer within the next few months. I love watching videos like these because they shine such a bright light on learning and put a fire in my belly. In fact, they make me feel like running to the helm of a ship and yelling “I’m the king of the world!”

Anyway, Professor Pausch said; “when you’re screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore, that means they’ve given up…your critics are the ones who still love you and know you can.” Boy, do I agree with that–although, it’s not always easy to experience criticism and it can be excruciating to watch someone we love being critiqued.

I wrote an article on my own experience with this phenomenon. At Tufts, my advisor was known to be the toughest in my department. My dissertation was often filled with red marks and comments like “no!” “wrong!” and “don’t say this” throughout it’s 150 pages. I’m not condoning my advisor’s unforgiving approach—but rather, his practice. Would he be helping me by giving me a disingenuous pat on the back? Certainly not.

Interestingly, after I was awarded my doctorate, he did say something to me that I’ll never forget; “I was hard on you because I always knew you could do better. And you did. In fact you did so well that you became one of the very best.” I felt as though I had destroyed every brick wall placed in front of me and I was ready to take on the world.

So, what about the claim Mrs. Phillips made about her child’s self esteem? While too much criticism in the absence of praise can be detrimental, too much praise in the absence of critique is just as damaging.

Feelings of self worth, esteem, and gratification come from overcoming challenges. They derive from hard work, perseverance, self discipline, and self reliance. They don’t come from simply being the best but rather, doing one’s personal best and raising the bar higher every time we approach a skill. These feelings don’t come from our teachers and parents telling us we’re doing well when we aren’t or telling us we’re doing “the best” when we’re not putting in “our best.” They come from when others, whose opinions we value, tell us that they know we can do better and then notice it when we do.

In the end, we gain self esteem when we break through brick walls when even we wondered if we could.

As educators, coaches, teachers, and instructors, it’s our duty to inspire students to rise to their potential—not so that they necessarily become better martial artists, gymnasts, swimmers, dancers, or cheerleaders, but so they strive towards their personal best in everything they do.

Nobody ever feels satisfied while leaning against a brick wall that blocks their dream as their superheroes yell “at-a-boy!” But I’ve certainly felt the rush of achievement when I’ve barreled through brick walls, bruises and all, with my mentors and loved ones nodding their heads saying, “we knew you could do better. And you did.”

Here’s to you– for not letting our students give up on their dreams,

drrobynsig.jpg

Teachers as Role Models: Seven Ways to make a Positive Impact

superhero_girl.jpgsuperhero_boy.jpg
They want to be just like you. Are you being a positive role model?
Seven Ways to Be a Powerful Role Model
Note: This article appears in an altered form on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog as a service of the Powerful Words Character Program for member schools.

A role model is a person whose behavior is imitated by others. Of course, there are both good role models and bad role models. There’s even the counterintuitive anti-role model, discussed in today’s Boston Globe, who behaves so badly that s/he serves as a good example of what NOT to do.

We all hope that children have good, strong role models who possess the kind of qualities that make our students want to be (and become) better people. While there is some variation in every teacher’s definition of what it means to be a good person, the following 7 characteristics of a positive role model remain constant.

Positive role models;

(1) Model positive choice-making: Little eyes are watching and little ears are listening. When it comes to being a role model, you must be aware that the choices you make don’t only impact you but also the children who regard you as their superhero. Someday, they will be in the same predicament and think to themselves, “What did s/he do when s/he was in the same situation?” When you are a role model it’s not enough to tell your charges the best choices to make. You must put them into action yourself.

(2) Think out loud: When you have a tough choice to make, allow the children to see how you work through the problem, weight the pros and cons, and come to a decision. The process of making a good decision is a skill. A good role model will not only show a child which decision is best, but also how they to come to that conclusion. That way, the child will be able to follow that reasoning when they are in a similar situation.

(3) Apologize and admit mistakes: Nobody’s perfect. When you make a bad choice, let those who are watching and learning from you know that you made a mistake and how you plan to correct it. This will help them to understand that (a) everyone makes mistakes; (b) it’s not the end of the world; (c) you can make it right; and (d) you should take responsibility for it as soon as possible. By apologizing, admitting your mistake, and repairing the damage, you will be demonstrating an important yet often overlooked part of being a role model.

(4) Follow through: We all want children to stick with their commitments and follow through with their promises. However, as adults, we get busy, distracted, and sometimes, a bit lazy. To be a good role model, we must demonstrate stick-to-itiveness and self discipline. That means; (a) be on time; (b) finish what you started; (c) don’t quit; (d) keep your word; and (e) don’t back off when things get challenging. When role models follow through with their goals, it teaches children that it can be done and helps them adopt an “if s/he can do it, so can I” attitude.

(5) Show respect: You may be driven, successful, and smart but whether you choose to show respect or not speaks volumes about the type of attitude it takes to make it in life. We always tell children to “treat others the way we want to be treated” and yet, may not subscribe to that axiom ourselves. Do you step on others to get ahead? Do you take your spouse, friends, staff or colleagues for granted? Do you show gratitude or attitude when others help you? In this case, it’s often the little things you do that make the biggest difference in how children perceive how to succeed in business and relationships.

(6) Be well rounded: While we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin, it’s important to show children that we can be more than just one thing. Great role models aren’t just “teachers.” They’re people who show curiosities and have varied interests. They’re great learners and challenge themselves to get out of their comfort zones. You may be a teacher who’s also a student of martial arts or yoga, a great chef, a good sportsman, a father and a treasured friend. You may be a coach who’s a gifted dancer, a solid rock climber, a celebrated singer, a mother and a curious photographer. When children see that their role models can be many things, they will learn that they don’t need to pigeon-hole themselves in order to be successful.

(7) Demonstrate confidence in who you are: Whatever you choose to do with your life, be proud of the person you’ve become and continue to become. It may have been a long road and you may have experienced bumps along the way, but it’s the responsibility of a role model to commemorate the lessons learned, the strength we’ve amassed, and the character they’ve developed. We can always get better, however, in order for children to celebrate who they are, their role models need to show that confidence doesn’t start “5 pounds from now,” “2 more wins on top of this one,” or “1 more possession than I have today.” We must continue to strive while being happy with how far we’ve come at the same time.

While it may seem like a great deal of pressure to be a positive role model; nobody is expecting you to be superhuman. We certainly wouldn’t expect that behavior from the children who are looking to us for answers and guidance—nor would we want them to expect that kind of flawless behavior from themselves or others. You can only do your best. And, if you mess up today, you can always refer back to tip #3 and try again tomorrow. Good role models earn multiple chances from the children who believe in them and know they can do anything if they simply put their mind to it.

Here’s to a Powerful Week!

drrobynsig.jpg

Justice for Ashley: My Niece’s Teacher Died Too Soon

ashleymcintosh.jpg

The kids all called her “Miss Mac” and loved her greatly.

Hi everyone-

I wanted to share a personal story that was featured in the Washington Post today that has touched my life recently.

My six year old niece, Evie, and her classmates received some devastating news when one of their favorite teaching assistants, Ashley McIntosh, age 22, was killed in a traffic accident last month. Concerns have been launched about the fairness of the investigation because the accident happened when a police car collided with Ashley’s car. The family is suffering greatly since little information has been released as the police are doing their investigation.

Witnesses clearly saw the police car speeding without a siren, yet with lights, towards the intersection where Ashley was thrown from the car and killed. Here is the full article.

Now close to 800 people, including myself and my family, have signed a petition asking for a thorough and fair investigation by police. It can be signed publicly or anonymously but please, would you take a moment to sign it? They are not asking for any money– just a signature of support. The McIntosh family has already been through so much and the children and families who loved her deserve to know what “really” happened.

NOTE: Petitioners have been advised not to contribute money to the website. “Advise supporters NOT to contribute to the petition website. That is not associated with our effort.” Also, you can uncheck the box regarding getting any future emails regarding any other petitions– this is also not part of the effort.

Petition here.

Warm regards,

drrobynsig.jpg

Parents Choice Writing Award And Parenting Publication Awards

bsjanuary_cover.jpg

I couldn’t wait to share the good news with all of you…

As many of you know, I am a proud columnist for Bay State Parent magazine, a highly praised monthly in New England. We just received notification that Bay State Parent was designated a “2008 Parents’ Choice Approved” award winner in a national magazine contest, sponsored by the Parents Choice Foundation last week.

The non-profit Parents’ Choice Foundation honors magazines that are entertaining, edifying, and that pass on accurate information to parents and/or children.

The judges wrote: “Regular features in this free Massachusetts regional parenting publication include Family Calendar of Events, Fun, Educational Activities, Family Health, and Adoption Insights. Articles are written for parents, by parents and professionals. Supported by family friendly advertisers.”

Contributors to the award-winning magazine entries were: Dr. Robyn Silverman, Alyson Aiello, Dr. Kerri Augusto, Amy Benoit, Robin Burke, Rose Cafasso,
Leslie Castillo, Michelle Xiarhos Curran, Antoinette Donovan, Lynn Jolicoeur,
Jennifer Lefferts, Kate M. Jackson, Jane Mackay, Sue Lovejoy, Jennifer Luccarelli, Sarah MacDonald, Marguerite Paolino, Elizabeth C. Regan, Donna Roberson, Susan Spencer, Tim Sullivan, & Donna White

Other 2008 winners that received the same designation include: “Sports
Illustrated for Kids, Sesame Street Magazine, and Highlights magazine”

Previous winners have included: Adoptive Families magazine, Family Fun and Ranger Rick magazines.

Judging: In the 2008 Parents’ Choice Magazine Awards numerous families and teachers
pour over many publications, page-by-page, carefully considering the content and appraising the appeal of the publications. Deliberations and final selections were conducted by an esteemed panel of judges. The magazine awards have been given out annually since 1995. The foundation, established in 1978, also reviews books, toys, music, television, software, videogames, Web sites, and magazines for children and/or families of all
achievements and backgrounds.

This news comes on the heals of Bay State’s recent 16 awards from Parenting Publications of America: From design to editorial awards, Bay State won 16 awards less than 1 month ago from Parenting Publications of America. Included in those awards, I was so proud and honored to be selected as the Silver Award winner for my series on Fitting In and Standing Out on Body Image and dealing with media pressures in America. The judges said, “Timely and informative, these columns contain the ideal mix of fact and narrative.” I was also proud to be part of the Bronze Awards given to Bay State Parent for Overall Excellence in Reporting and Overall General Excellence.

 

And finally, Bay State Parent was awarded Best Parenting Publication in North America: Suburban Newspaper of America named Bay State Best Parenting Publication for the third time. The judges wrote: “Good job in covering parenting issues that are current.” Writers who contributed to the issue included: Kerri Augusto, Amy Benoit, Robin Burke, Rosemary Cafasso, Lindsay Crone, Marta Kowalczyk, Jennifer Lefferts, Sue Lovejoy, Jane Mackay, Maria Marien, Marguerite Paolino, Dr. Robyn Silverman, & calendar editor Carrie Wattu.

*Remember, every time this kind of award-winning news gets out, the good name and great schools using Powerful Words comes along with it! Thank you for being part of our family.

drrobynsig.jpg

 

 

Are Children Showing Self Reliance at Your School?

A version of this article is on Dr. Robyn’s Powerful Parenting Blog for parents who attend your schools and use the Powerful Words Character System to help their children thrive. This blog is a free service of Powerful Words Character Development.

confident_girl.jpg

Because it’s Self Reliance month for Powerful Words, it’s important that we provide children with opportunities to show self reliance at our schools. Perhaps they have been relying on their parents (or their teachers?) to do some things that they can do on their own. What are these things?

Are they able to:

  • Pack their own bags for class?
  • Remember all their equipment?
  • Do their own Powerful Words projects?
  • Hand in their Powerful Words projects?
  • Hang up their own jackets?
  • Tie their own shoes?
  • Get ready for your class on their own?
  • Stay quiet before class without being reminded?
  • Work on their skills in class responsibly even when your back is turned?
  • Lead the class in stretching or skills?
  • Practice for class, a test, or an event?
  • Clean up after themselves?
  • Remember all their stuff when they leave their school

Encourage your students to take some time to ask themselves; “how have I shown self reliance today?” It’s this kind of focus and questioning that will help them to take a hard look at their behaviors, take some risks, make some changes, and become more self reliant in the long run.

We’d love to hear how your students are showing self reliance at your schools. Tell us about it!

drrobynsig.jpg