Tag Archives: #health

Virtual teaching SOS! – Part II 

Hello? Hello? Are you out there? Oh – now we can see you! Zoom. Just like that. We shared our part I of Virtual teaching SOS!  

Before going any further, take a breath and know that you can do this! Then, watch this Youtube video:  I Will Survive, Coronavirus version for teachers going online

 What to do now that you have taken a much needed deep breath? We want to share some incredible ideas with you as you charter these educational waters virtually. Tossing some lifesavers your way to help you and your learners navigate the virtual waters of learning. We asked our teacher educator colleagues from the SMSU School of Education and across campus to contribute resources to share out with you.  A quick shoutout to our talented SMSU colleagues for responding to our request: Drs. Rhonda Bonnstetter, Sarah Huseby, Kandy Noles Stevens, Frankie Albitz, Kris Cleveland, Debbie VanOverbeke … thank you for your efforts to support our teacher candidates and educators everywhere! 

Before checking out the list of resources, we want to share our support and thank all the healthcare and emergency workers on the front lines and all essential workers who cannot stay home with their families in order to care for the greater good. Thank you and our continued prayers go out for your safety!

What awesome ideas do you have to share? Please let us know! We need each other and our creative ideas now more than ever. Take care! 

Stay Calm & Teach On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.  

Art Work:

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free online art lessons

Literacy & Teaching English as a Second Language:

This site is great for elementary teachers and reads books in English & 43 different languages!
This site, much like Rosetta Stone, teaches students new languages – set the language to English and our English learners can continue their language learning.
Great for a variety of subjects – and for our English learners with a primary language in Spanish, Kahn Academy in Spanish!
Great for a variety of subjects!  For English learners, use the English Language Arts tab.
A site that allows you to create quizzes – both for individual practice and for a game-like atmosphere. 

Variety of Ideas and Websites:

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Online Learning At Home

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Films and Videos:

Virtual Field Trips: 

National Parks

Movement and Phy Ed: 

Making Videos & Web Conferencing Tools: 

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Emotional Learning:


Additional links to even more resources… 

Universal Design for Learning:

UDL: http://udlguidelines.cast.org/?utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=none&utm_source=cast-about-udl

UDL Strategies: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/treatments-approaches/educational-strategies/5-examples-of-universal-design-for-learning-in-the-classroom

CAST UDL Resources: 


Tom Foley, SMSU Alumnus – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UAvlVkmRvL5LllSw1XIpLRX2ubxAk2CIN1h2MWLuiik/edit#gid=623973979

Kandy Noles Stevens, ABD – Online Resources.docx

Need more? Check out this amazing list of educational resources… http://www.amazingeducationalresources.com/

Need even more resources? Additional resources are available at the bottom of the MN Learning Commons page: https://ccaps.umn.edu/minnesota-learning-commons/educator-resources as well as at Minnesota State: https://careerwise.minnstate.edu/education/onlineresources.html

Detailed Google doc, written by Jenae Cohn and Beth Seltzer:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ccsudB2vwZ_GJYoKlFzGbtnmftGcXwCIwxzf-jkkoCU/preview

Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Going-Online-in-a-Hurry-What/248207

Please do a bad job of putting your courses online: https://anygoodthing.com/2020/03/12/please-do-a-bad-job-of-putting-your-courses-online/?fbclid=IwAR1KYrnmEX2-Hk-NR9jIJH_ygG5lA_tJFgUCt0M18VJtpj_ltHEqRD_cS9E

Project-Based Learning: https://www.pblworks.org/what-is-pbl

Differentiated Instruction: https://www.slideshare.net/edutopia/teacher-tested-strategies-for-differentiated-instruction

Center on Online Learning and Students with disabilities: 

AMTE Webinars

Mardi Gras, 40 Days, and Rejuvenate


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So hopefully this post finds you full up to the rim from Mardi Gras and the Chinese New Year – days filled with carnival fun and feasting. Don’t know what we are talking about? Sorry – then that means that with your busy life’s schedule, you missed celebrating the Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras, which is “Fat Tuesday” in French; it is a day to celebrate and feast away before the fasting of the Lenten days to follow.

Whether you recognize Lent in your spiritual life or not – or whether you celebrate the Chinese New Year or not – these days provide a time to reflect on yourself and life … and how we can change for the better. In a way, it is like a do-over for your New Year’s resolutions. Do you remember what your 2016 New Year’s resolutions were? If not, time to reset.

A few things to consider:

Give up chocolate. Okay – maybe that sounds extreme, but it grabbed your attention, right? How about making a concerted effort to make healthy food decisions. After all – it isn’t so much the choices as it is the actual decisions about food that we make. It is fuel – and although it can be pleasure-filled, that should be less often than more.

Be one with a rubberband. Again – just trying to get your attention… do stretch and build your strength, however. Only you can make the decision to do this with your busy schedule. We may not be as flexible as we once were but with all the wisdom in our heads now, we know we need to stretch.

Sleeping Beauty is on to something. She is simply beautiful with all that rest, isn’t she? We need to sleep more than we do. It is true for most of us. Whether it is a 20-minute cat-nap or a health dose of 8-hours, get your Zzzzzzs.

Just be. Take time to reflect and breathe, and just be. We don’t have to be in motion every single minute of every single day to be productive and successful. It is actually quite the opposite if we want to be effective and efficient in our lives – meditate and reflect.

Recently, Wendy heard a presenter at the Minnesota Elementary School Principal’s Association (MESPA) give a mini TED Talk titled “Feed the Teachers so They Don’t Eat the Kids.” Five food groups that this principal felt were needed so teachers don’t eat the kids are: 1) Love; 2) Information that is delicious and nutritious; 3) Freedom; 4) Fun because people will rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing and; 5) Food.

This is for all of us. Take care of us – before we can truly take care of others. Just the flight attendants who tell us to put the oxygen max on ourselves first and then help our family and neighbors, which sounds completely cruel but makes sense because if we pass out in the process, we can’t help anyway.

Taking our own advice… Or at least we are trying. 🙂

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

Just Chill & Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

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Hold on Tight… to what really counts and let the rest go.

The to-do list is growing by leaps and bounds. It seems to multiply like gizmo with water. The holidays can make life go into warp speed from regular daily life demands to work demands to holiday demands… not to mention catching the latest Star Wars (or you insert your liking) movie. Thank goodness for the music of the holidays to remind us that it is just life and simply enjoy it. Aim not to hold on too tightly. I was there for the past few weeks. I wasn’t treading water very well, and it turned my attitude into something ugly.

So what did I learn and do to turn my frown upside down? I decided to remember the important things that count; the rest is just the rest.

Exercise, Chill, Eat Healthy, Hug, Understand instead of Judge – you know, the basics that we have all heard before. Turns out that they are legit.

1. Work out – it is true so don’t roll your eyes at this. Staying well both
physically and mentally is directly linked to exercise.

2.  Chill – if the schedule is packed, then pack it even fuller with “chill” time. Make it happen because if you don’t, it won’t, and then life has passed you by based on a schedule full of things to do and without complete joy. Work will always be there – even without you.

3. As good as the sugar tastes, it just brings us up and drops us down. Enjoy a treat and then keep it healthy for the most part. Our mouths can actually enjoy carrots if we let our mind believe it.

4.  Hug family and friends. They are the people who count and make your life complete.

5.  Put down the gavel. It isn’t your job to judge so stop.

To add a bit more to this…

Everyone has a story. Who are you to deny someone of that? Far too often we pass judgment on others based on our expectations – regardless of how unrealistic they may be. At times, we are critical of leaders, of colleagues, of friends, of foes because what they do and say is not what we think they should do and say. We have advice free of charge on this… get over it. Unless you are being hurt by someone – in which case you should let the individual know in some way (another time, another blog) – try not to be so dearly offended when the story line goes awry or follows a different outline than your expectations. The best stories are sometimes written without a plan or at least without the plan the author thought was in place.

People will love you.
People will hate you.
And none of it will have anything to do with you.
~ Abraham Hicks

So with that, take a walk, nap, sip some special tea of your choice with a friend, and don’t waste so much time worrying about your neighbor.

And the real lesson to learn… when your puppy (no matter the size) goes beyond admiring the Christmas tree to tearing open the gifts, smile – because you are there to appreciate it and know that life is short so enjoy it.

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Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all! May you enjoy the season and remember that life is short so get out there and live it.

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



How to Wage War Against Loneliness

BLOG Wendy & mom

Do you ever feel lonely? I do. Please don’t judge me. I have a husband who loves me. I have two delightful adult children who both have charming spouses. I am blessed with two adorable grandchildren with a third one on the way. I have friends. I have a profession that I am passionate about. And yet…I still get lonely.

Loneliness does not discriminate. Young or old, black or white, male or female, big or small…everyone gets lonely. Here is how dictionary.com defines this feeling that can sometimes overwhelm us: Loneliness: Depressing feeling of being alone.

Lonely wears different hats. Sometimes being alone is just what we need. Off by ourselves, praying or meditating or just soaking in the quiet. Sometimes lonely grabs us with her sharp talons and rips our hearts to pieces. Here’s how I became prey to loneliness:

Loneliness grabbed me with her piercing claws in 2004, and it has been a rollercoaster ride of remission, reoccurrence, remission, reoccurrence ever since. Once in a while I think I’m finally done with this silly feeling. And then…WHAAM, loneliness tackles me down again. Stupid stuff!

In the spring of 2004, my friend decided to turn away from our friendship and explore other options. We had been friends for many years and just like that, with no warning, I was excluded from her life. This rejection punched me in the heart and left a huge bruise mark shaped like loneliness.

That same spring also found my baby graduating from high school. She had made the decision to go to college far, far away. Off to Boise Idaho she went. The empty nest crushed my heart leaving it smashed to lonely smithereens.

Beginning in the summer of 2004, my husband had to travel more than usual for his job. He was absent from home two out of four weeks a month. His absence went on for several months and it left me truly alone. No one home. No husband. No children. No best friend. Loneliness slithered in and wrapped itself around my heart and suffocated me.

Thank goodness 2004 has come and gone. The lost friendship has been reconciled, the daughter has moved back to her home town, and the husband no longer has to travel. Still, loneliness tends to sneak back up on me once in a while.

When extreme loneliness begins to slither its way back into my life to smother my heart, I fight back. Here’s how…

*Reading my devotional each and every morning helps.

*Reading scripture helps.

*Praying about it helps.

*Talking about it helps.

*Journaling about it helps.

*Praying about it helps.

*Surrounding myself with those I love helps.

*Being active helps.

*Praying about it helps.

*Chatting with my Professional Learning Network via Twitter helps.

*Laughing helps.

*Praying about it helps.

*Smiling helps.

*Hugging helps.

*Praying about it helps.

*Walking and swimming helps.

*Getting OUT of the house helps.

*Praying about it helps.

If you ever feel lonely, trying one or all of the ideas above might be a good way to help you combat against loneliness. ~Wendy

How have you won the war against loneliness?

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

Chase Away the Winter Blues

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Are you experiencing the winter blues? February is the month of LOVE filled with lots of red hearts and chocolate candy so let’s chase away the winter blues. If you are starting to climb the walls, we suggest that you take that literally. No, seriously, go climb some walls…do a little rock climbing that is.

Rock climbing might be just the perfect mid-winter break that you need. And it won’t cost you much either if you go to your local YMCA or your backyard. After perusing Pinterest, we found some cheap ways to hang out with friends or with any significant others (and we know how important ‘cheap’ is for our teacher candidates…not a whole lot of cash in their pockets this time of year. 🙂 )

Of the several cheap winter date ideas we found, below are a few of our favorites:

Picnic Date: Pick your favorite foods and beverage to pack into a picnic basket. Find a comfy blanket then throw it down on the floor in your pad. Unpack your food and beverage to enjoy some quiet time together…minus the ants. Don’t forget to savor some Valentine’s Day chocolate during your picnic together.

Random Acts of Kindness Date: Who doesn’t enjoy making homemade Valentine’s Day cards? Especially us educators. Grab your scissors, glue, glitter, yarn, feathers, beads, and other stuff to create a few snazzy Valentine’s Day cards. Together, deliver them to a few of the elderly at a local nursing home. You will bless their day, and, your heart will be blessed even more.

Photography Date: The possibilities are endless when your camera is right inside your pocket. Whether you are using an iPhone or a Canon, pictures are easily captured. Just remember a few basics when taking pictures: have a subject, take silhouette shots, include shadows and reflections, find unique angles, and keep pictures simple. Combine all of these simple tips, and you’ll have awesome photos. Have a contest and see who can capture first within the community, A – Z in pictures. Be the first one done and friends buy you a root beer float. 🙂

Fireplace Date: Find a fireplace then just sit and relax together. Grab a hot chocolate, visit quietly, and be mesmerized by the flames. It doesn’t get much better than that. Except if it’s a REAL fire, then you can make S’mores. Yum!

Read Together: February is I Love to Read month after all! Being reading and literature specialists, we simply cannot resist this one – as cheesy as it might sound. Go for something that pulls on your heartstrings… remember Fly a Littler Higher? Or something that makes you laugh like Sh*t My Dad Says; we read that one on a flight once and the gentleman next to me asked if everything was okay. Sorry to disturb! We did laugh together.

Wish Upon a Star: Whether at the planetarium or bundled up under the night sky, take time to look up together and make a wish. It is love’s season of hope after all. Be hopeful and optimistic together. The bills won’t pay themselves so you can’t wish work away, but you could wish and/or pray for the bright spot in life.

Sweetheart Resolutions: Think of Valentine’s Day as your chance to start a fresh new year together – significant other, family members, and friends. Establish a list of what you want to continue/encourage with the start of this new year of love or what you want to do better. With the winter blahs and life’s stresses, it is easy to take for granted those we love and who love us back despite our faults.

So, if you’re feeling cooped up, with your nerves about to fray; just change your attitude, there’s still time to save the day. Go on a winter date with friends or significant others because we are always better together. Happy Valentine’s Day to our teacher candidates and to all of our blog readers.

Please share with us some ways that you beat the winter blues.

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