Monthly Archives: July 2014

It’s Easy For You

Dear Twitter Friend, @burgessdave:

It happened. It happened just last week. Those six words you talk about in your book Teach Like a Pirate under the Ask and Analyze section. Those six words that you intensely and energetically told your audience about in Brookings, SD. Those six words that you stated raises your blood pressure up about 50 notches every time you talk about them. Those six words that sound like a compliment at first…and then, WHAM, they actually discredit our years and years and years of hard work.

Last week one early morning, we were out walking and talking about eating right and exercising. One of the walkers mentioned she would not drink a glass of her favorite beverage—chocolate milk. She exercises a lot so she was told chocolate milk would be good for her after a hard workout. She said if she had one glass then she would drink the whole gallon and that gallon would make her gain weight back. We told her we believed she had better self-discipline than that. We told her that we had faith in her. Then it happened…she uttered those 6 words…It’s easy for you. You’re skinny.

At first, it sounded like a compliment.

Thank you.

Glad you think so.

Then reality hit and the thought occurred to us… Really? Are you serious? NO, it isn’t easy. It has never been easy. For the past 30 plus years, exercise has been a daily routine—early morning walks, early morning swims, early morning boot camps, late afternoon bike rides, more late afternoon walks. Easy? NO, not easy at all. Years and years of hard work and commitment and determination and perseverance are not easy. Making the decision every morning that ‘exercise is not an option’ has no correlation whatsoever to the term easy.

So, @burgessdave, it is now crystal clear why you get so fired up when you tell your story of those six words. When those six words are used against us, thanks to you, we are now better equipped to make a solid comment back. Kindly and gently but firmly, we commented “no, it is not easy for us. Whether we enjoy exercise or not, we can either choose to do it, or we can choose not to do it, and we choose to do it. Or as Yoda would say, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Exercise is like marriage, we must commit 100% to it before we begin. We make the choice every morning to dedicate at least 60 minutes of our time to exercise. It’s not easy, but it reaps a better life style. Here’s to another 30 plus years of exercise…! ~Wendy

What’s your story? Fill in the blank and tell us about it. “It’s easy for you. You’re ____________.”

Editor’s Note: Sonya did not say this to Wendy. 🙂

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.


20,000 Days Old: Get Your “Love-of-Life” On!

On Monday, July 21, 2014, Wendy will turn 20,000 days old. In September of 2031, Sonya will turn 20,000 days old. No, Wendy is not her mother (although she is old enough that she could be! 🙂 ) What does 20,000 days old look like? What does 13,725 days old look like? What does living that long mean? What does the future hold? Have we made a difference in life?

Below are five thoughts that we believe could possibly accessorize your life as you move closer to and then beyond your 20,000 days:

Relationships: Building relationships, lasting relationships, will bless your life!Focus on your family and your friends and your colleagues. Do everything possible to NOT let anything come between you and those you love! Let go of any “me, me, me” mentalities! Make sure life is about others and not about you!

Wisdom: If you were asked to go back and do it all over again, would you? Not that life wasn’t enjoyable “back in the day,” but we certainly like where we have arrived! And we certainly like the fact that we are moving forward. With age comes wisdom! It is one quality that is worth the wait in gold!

Contentment: Someone once asked “I just want to stay home and watch a movie. Does that make me old?” That is not being old, people, that is being content in your circumstances! What a great place to be!

Volunteer: Volunteering to bless others will bless you ten-fold! It will make your heart swell with appreciation and gratitude. Volunteer at a nursing home. Volunteer at your local Hospice House. Volunteer to drive cancer patients to their chemo appointments. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Volunteer at an elementary school. Your heart will never be the same if you do!

Enrichment:  Relationships, wisdom, contentment, and becoming a volunteer all enhance our lives. And isn’t that what all of us want? To have a life that has made a difference? Life experiences can enrich our lives. We just need to live our life to its fullest!

Robert D. Smith wrote the book, 20000 Days and Counting. In his book he writes about “living each day as if it were your last.” We agree. Want to know when YOU reach YOUR 20,000th day? Download the app Reminder & Countdown (Free version). It is kind of fun to watch the time tick away—heavy emphasis on “kind of.” 🙂


 blog clock 

A favorite quote is one by Andy Rooney. He said:

“Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.”

Yup, that basically sums it up! Enjoy life, readers!! It goes by much too quickly. How did Kenny Chesney sing it? Don’t Blink!

What are some ways you have enriched your life?


Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.


Oh, The People You’ll Meet If Only You’ll Tweet!

Greetings from #NAESP14 in Nashville, Tennessee! Elementary principals from all over the place are here to network, broaden their knowledge in focus areas such as Common Core, Instructional Leadership, School Culture, and Technology, and also to listen to some very dynamic speakers such as Robert Fulghum author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten; Differentiation Instruction guru, Carol Tomlinson; and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Don’t get me wrong, these folks are ALL great speakers! BUT…I was PUMPED UP to meet in person, Todd and Beth Whitaker!! Even though I was presenting today and had to get ready (thank you to my hubby for helping me with this), there was NO WAY I was going to miss it!! And trust me when I say…it was SO worth it! 🙂 I gave both of them a hug like they were longtime friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while. How is this possible since this was my first time ever meeting Todd and Beth?

TWITTER!! That’s how!

It is amazing the people you can meet if only you will tweet! [Click to Tweet]

I have had incredible opportunities to meet some pretty amazing people just because I am a Twitter user (Hello…my name is Wendy and I am hooked on Twitter!! Hooked on Twitter works for me! You educators who are my age—you get that 🙂 ). I ‘follow’ these amazing people on Twitter, and they are gracious enough to follow me back.

I was thrilled to meet face-to-face and get a hug from the one and only REAL PIRATE @burgessdave, well-known speaker and author of Teach like a PIRATE. When I got my hug from Dave, he looked at the gentleman next to him and said “I can hug her because I met her on Twitter.” 😉 I require Dave’s book in my Social Studies Methods course…a book every new teacher should own! He Skyped with my college students last fall and plans to Skype with them again this fall—how cool is that? My students can’t get enough of Part II of his book. Read it to find out what these future teachers are fired up to put into practice.

Blog Burgess

I was honored to meet and have lunch with classroom management guru @BrianMendler which led to a Skype date with my college students during the past two spring semesters—awesomeness! I require his book, Taming of the Crew: Working Successfully with Difficult Students, in my Classroom Management course, and my students especially like Chapter 4. Curious? Read it to find out the great classroom management tips given.

 Blog Mendler

I had the privilege of meeting @RickWormeli at a professional development day for teachers in Pipestone, MN. Rick is the author of Summarization in any Subject: 50 Techniques to Improve Student Learning, which is a book I refer to often in my teaching at SMSU, and a favorite technique is the Bloom’s Taxonomy Cube.

 Blog Wormeli

Today, I was doubly blessed to meet Todd and Beth Whitaker, authors of Teaching Matters: How to Keep Your Passion and Thrive in Today’s Classroom, one book I rely on for help when preparing for my presentations—especially presentations for principals!! I also require What Great Teachers Do Differently in my Intro to Education course.

 Blog Whitaker

Because my presentation was shortly after Todd and Beth’s lunch date…I had to ‘flash and dash’ (eh hum…flash as in camera 🙂 ), but, meeting Todd and Beth was a great way for me to get pumped up before my presentation so thank you Todd and Beth for the hugs!

To @NAESP14…so far the conference has been FABULOUS! Keep up the outstanding work!

To my special colleague, friend, co-blogger, and our newly elected department chair, Dr. V, I hope you are enjoying your MN lake vacation with your family!!! :-).

To all my Twitter friends…I appreciate you SO much and it has been a great adventure so far. I hope our paths cross soon if they haven’t already! To those of you who are not on Twitter yet…what are you waiting for? Oh, the people you will meet if you are willing to tweet!

Virtual hugs, everyone, and hope to chat with you soon! ~Wendy

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.



The Fault in Their Stars

 The stars align once in great while…and summer reading finally begins! One book on our summer list is The Fault in Our Stars. After reading and reflecting on the novel (and film), here is the “book report.” 🙂 ~SV

Although their paths did not cross for long, the stars aligned briefly for Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters as they experienced the love of a lifetime in John Green’s 2012 novel, The Fault in Our Stars. You may have heard about it from a previous blog post…or perhaps the hype at the theaters as the movie was just released a couple of weeks ago. (We’re guessing you know about it from our blog and not all the media, but anyway…) The book and film are based on these two young, living and dying teenagers, Hazel Grace and Augustus. It is brilliantly written with hopes and fears and smiles and tears. It is more highly recommended…along with a box of tissues.

The book is full of memorable dialog and thoughts. Although difficult to select and focus on specific quotes, there are a number of quotes included here because they provoked the reader to think or feel or simply sigh.

“Patience grasshopper,” I counseled. “You don’t want to seem overeager.” (p. 36)

“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt.” (p.63)

“Okay,” he said after forever. “Maybe okay will be our always.” “Okay,” I said. (p. 73)

As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly, and then all at once. (p.125)

Everything’s coming up Waters. (p.128)

“That what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it—or my observation of it—is temporary?” (p. 223)

(After some banter back and forth)… “Okay, enough,” Gus’s dad said, and then out of nowhere, his dad put an arm around me and kissed the side of my head and whispered, “I thank God for you every day, kid.” (p.252)

My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations. (p.311)

But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar. (p.313)

You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.   (p.313)

Although we would like to say that we know what the author intended for each one of these quotes, we won’t because we don’t. We do know what it means to us though, and that is all that is really needed. We cannot go on to say more in this “book report” as we hope that you read the book and watch the film; we hope that it touches you as well as you see the fault in their stars… and realize all of ours.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.