Monthly Archives: November 2017

Be S.M.A.R.T. and Boost Up

curriculum guide covers final.indd

I had the opportunity to volunteer in my grandson’s kindergarten classroom the other day. Kudos to his teacher and to all kindergarten teachers. Oofta…it is a busy place. Lots of learning going on in there…

…Learning to write, and read, and listen, and count…

…Learning to follow directions, and sit still on their assigned square, and sequence a story, and use the greater than/less than sign, and write the numeral 7 by chanting “across the top, down from heaven, that’s the way to make a seven”

…Learning to raise their hand to speak, and to not pick their nose and use a Kleenex instead, and to set their bathroom clips on the table when they leave the room…

…Learning to freeze then give the teacher their eyes, and to be kind to each other, and to be independent learners.


Thank goodness for brain breaks. Those moments in the classrooms when teachers give the children a break from working and allow them to play and talk and smile and laugh and sing and dance.

My grandson’s teacher introduced me to the brain break program called Boost Up Stations®.  I have been in education a long time, and this was the first time I had heard of it. Maybe you already know what this is, but I was intrigued and loved what I saw.

The children were in charge of setting up the stations. Once the stations were ready to go, the teacher assigned her kiddos to specific stations and off they went…

Station 1 – Hanging Ball: A tennis ball hung from the ceiling and directions were to tap the ball gently alternating hands while counting to 10.

Station 2 – Mazes & Wagon Wheel: Children traced the wagon wheel, the curved line, and the straight line while covering first their right eye, then their left eye, then with both eyes open.

Station 4 – Color Boxes: Children named the color of the boxes as they played hop scotch.   

Station 9 – Stacking Cups: The students each took two turns building a pyramid with the plastic cups.

Station 12 – Ball Bounce: Students bounced a ball while alternating hands and saying the alphabet or counting by 10’s.

See what I mean? Oofta! 🙂 When 12:30 lunchtime rolled around, my grandson and I were starving. We gobbled down the hamburgers and fries then headed out to recess to play tether ball.

blog boost up lunch

According to the MN Learning Resource Center (2015), the Boost Up Stimulating Maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training (S.M.A.R.T.) program is a multi-sensory approach, intended to develop and boost the physical and neurological readiness skills students need to succeed in school. The program has been designed to help students progress at their own rate and enhance their abilities in a positive, play-like atmosphere.

Thank you, Mrs. G. for allowing me to help in your room (and also for lending me your S.M.A.R.T. Curriculum). I had a fabulous time.

To our SMSU teacher candidates…if you have not heard of this Boost Up S.M.A.R.T. program, take a moment to check it out. It will be worth your time.  

Stay Calm & Boost Away!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 


Like Captured Fireflies
-John Steinbach-

In her classroom our speculations ranged the world.
She aroused us to book waving discussions.
Every morning we came to her carrying new truths, new facts, new ideas,
Cupped and sheltered in our hands like captured fireflies.

When she went away a sadness came over us,
But the light did not go out.
She left her signature upon us,
The literature of the teacher who writes on children’s minds.

I’ve had many teachers who taught us soon forgotten things,
But only a few like her who created in me a new thing a new attitude, a new hunger.
I suppose that to a large extent I am the unsigned manuscript of that teacher.
What deathless power lies in the hands of such a person.

MACTE TotY F2017

“We’re in the business of guiding the future…It’s a serious business” exclaimed Cory Bulman – the 2017 MN Teacher of the Year.  Mr. Bulman recently spoke to MACTE – Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education members to share his words of advice.  His opening lines along with his sharing of John Steinbach’s Like Captured Fireflies told us that we were in for a treat.  So… maybe not too many can get so excited over a poem and a few words of advice, but I know I certainly did and perhaps you will too…

Other words of advice to digest by Mr. Bulman:

“As a learner – as a teacher – I am their unsigned manuscript. I am their legacy.

Model our own sense of curiosity and wonder.

Allow our students to stumble.

Before we can expect them to trust us as teachers, we need to have them trust us as learners.

Most important trait of all – authenticity.

Use life to teach about perseverance and strength.

Teaching feeds the soul and leads you while you think you are leading others.

Teaching is not a part of a one-man or one-person show.  We are in an ensemble.

MACTE Growing in the Profession F2017

Perfect teachers are only in movies written by disgruntled English majors. 😉

Real teachers have no halos around their heads. They just hustle. They try to keep up with the laughable workloads.

Teaching matters…you are the candle in the darkness.

Compare teacher to new driving – judge the risk and take the turn as an experienced teacher.

Own when you stumble – make amends and move on.

You have to be willing to laugh at yourself or you won’t survive. Show students you are human.

Share authentic experiences.  If they have a different background, continue to share personal story and where you come from.  Have the conversation – not the answers.

Go with the skill sets that work for you. Your personality seeps in to what you do.  It’s okay. You have to be allowed to become yourself. You aren’t a robot. It’s alright to be who you are and infuse yourself into what you do.

Educators need to keep our eyes on the real prize – help students catch the fireflies.”

Stay Calm & Model Curiosity and Wonder!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 




Blog Praylikepirate

From that title, you are probably thinking how in the world do those two words go together…pray and pirate. Stay with me for a moment while I try to explain.

This weekend has been a weekend packed full of so many emotions.













With many of these emotions came the questions, “How can I help? What can I do to make it better?”

A sweet baby boy born with no brain activity. He went home on a feeding tube with the brand new momma hopeful his condition will improve and he will be able to laugh and play and sit up someday.

A neighbor going through chemotherapy for breast cancer and the first four treatments were evil, taking her down into a pit of sickness. This diagnosis came to her barely two weeks after she lost her husband unexpectedly.  She continues to fight and is thankful for her children who are there to help as often as they are able.

A cousin celebrated his 70th birthday. He gave me a hug but could not recall my name. Even more sadly, he did not recognize his son. His family shared that he has dementia and they are considering moving him into a nursing home.

Another cousin grieving the loss of her 8-month-old granddaughter to bronchial phenomena, which is a silent killer of infants. She is drowning in sadness. Her tears were endless while we visited.

I am heartbroken for these beautiful human beings. I want to help. I want to make it better! What can I do?

I can pray! I can PRAY like a PIRATE:

P – Praise God first. Thank Him for all his goodness (Psalm 75:1).

R – Repent of all our sins for we are sinners in this world (Acts 3:19).

A – Acknowledge that he is God, our savior, our guide, our comforter, our healer, our love (Proverbs 3:6).

Y – Yearn to know Him. Build a relationship with God by reading scriptures and spending time with him (Psalm 63:1).

like a

P – Passionately pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

I – Intently ask the Lord for what we hope for (ex. healing) then believe and trust (Luke 22:44).

R – Repeatedly give thanks for His goodness and for hearing our prayers (Matthew 7:7-8).

A – Audaciously come before the throne on our knees with love in our hearts (James 1:7-8).

T – Tenaciously continue to pray and ask for help for those we love (Romans 12:12).

E – Explicitly pray for people, events, problems, troubles that are in our lives (John 15:7-8).

We know the answers to prayers are not always what we hope for. Yet, never lose hope, and continue to have faith and to PRAY like a PIRATE in the precious name of Jesus.

blog cousins

Stay Calm & PRAY!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.