Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

This video fits right along with the message of #YouMatter.



How do you feel about showing compassion?  How do you fell about telling someone … “You Matter” ?



Last summer at the TASSP Summer workshop I attended a session on Twitter.  I created a Twitter account during that session and that started me on the path to where I am today.  Now, one year later, I am going to present three sessions on using Twitter to build your PLN (Personal Learning Network).  Up until that point last summer, I relied on others for my professional development, but since then, I have been learning something new almost daily … and it’s been on my own terms.

I would like to acknowledge a few people who I have found through Twitter.  They have shared some resources that I will use during my presentation this week, and without being on Twitter, I would never have been able to find this information as easily as I have.  They are a valuable resource for me, and I am very grateful to each of them for the part they have played in helping me grow as an educator.

Thank you …

  1. Eric Sheninger – @NMHS_Principal – Twitter Resources, Apps, and Tools
  2. Daniel Zeevi – @DanielZeevi – Twitter 101: What is Twitter Really About
  3. Leland Rechis – @leland – Introducing Fast Follow, and Other SMS Tips
  4. Jerry Blumengarten, AKA Cybraryman – @cybraryman1 – Cybraryman’s Internet Catalogue
  5. Tom Murray – @tomascmurray – and Chad Evans – @cevans5095 – Google Doc — Weekly Twitter Chats
  6. Tony Sinanis – @Cantiague_Lead – Everything We Need to Know We Learned on Twitter
  7. Erin Klein – @KleinErin – Twitter for teachers: Erin Klein’s Awesome 10-Minute Video Tells All
  8. Jeff Herb – @jeffherb – How to Join Twitter
  9. Rita Clawson – @RitaClawson – Clawson’s Bloggity
  10. Sally Cariker – @carikers –Random Thoughts and Musings
  11. Jennifer Rogers – Technology Times in an E-Classroom

It truly has been an interesting year for me as far as my professional development goes.  I cannot stress enough how valuable of a tool Twitter is for educators, and I hope that more people get on board.  With Twitter you have access to thousands of teachers, administrators, and other educational professionals throughout the world.  There is no easier way to learn, exchange ideas and be in control of your own professional development.

If you haven’t begun to use Twitter to build your PLN, what are you waiting for?

book 2

The first book I have read from My Summer Reading List is The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon (@JonGordon11).  This book follows George, who is forced to ride the bus to work because of a flat tire on his car.  George meets a unique bus driver and an interesting cast of fellow bus riders who, over the course of two weeks share the 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy.  In the process, they help George turn around his life, his team at work, and his marriage.

It all begins with positive energy.  No one goes through life untested and positive energy is what is needed to overcome these obstacles we all face in life.  Positive People and Positive Teams produce Positive Results — and the essential ingredient is POSITIVE ENERGY.

As he begins his journey of transformation from riding the Energy Bus, George meets the driver, Joy, who is instrumental in changing his life.  She, along with the other passengers, give George (and us) 10 rules that will change his life (and ours) forever.  It’s all about the positive energy we get from these ten rules.

Rule #1 — You’re the Driver of Your Bus

People feel like they don’t have a choice so they give up.  But you do have a choice!  Take the wheel and choose to create the life you want … one thought, one belief, one action, one choice at a time.  It starts with a decision — decide what you want.  Then YOU start creating it.  Create your world.

  1. My vision for my life is (including my health) is …
  2. My vision for my work, career, job, and team is …
  3. My vision for my relationship and family is …

It all starts with these three statements and the ENERGY to think about it and to identify what you want.

Rule # 2 — Desire, Vision, and Focus Move Your Bus in the Right Direction

Joy, the bus driver, shares this important piece of wisdom.  The more you focus on something, the more you think about it, the more it shows up in our lives.  Again, there is energy in thought.  Spend your time thinking about what you want rather than what you don’t want.  Don’t complain.  Complaining is focusing on the negative.

Be a Winner, Not a Whiner!

Rule # 3 — Fuel Your Ride With Positive Energy

There is power in positive energy!  It is important.  Positive energy will keep your bus moving forward with momentum.  As you know, there is a lot of negativity in the world, so choosing positive energy is important to help deal with the negative people and negative situations that can knock you off course.

One passenger on The Energy Bus named Danny shares this formula:  E + P = O

“E” stands for “events” in your life.  “P” stands for “perception” (and it also could stand for “positive” energy).  “O” stands for “outcome”.

You can’t control all the events in your life, but you can control how you perceive them.  Your perception can control the outcome.

Remember this, positive energy and positive people create positive results.

Rule # 4 — Invite People on Your Bus and Share Your Vision for the Road Ahead

You cannot always do things by yourself.  You need a good team.  You need to get like-minded people on your bus, and the more positive people you get, the more positive energy will be created.  Share your vision and make it clear what you expect.

Rule #5 — Don’t Waste Your Energy on Those Who Don’t Get on Your Bus

The enemy is negativity and it’s everywhere.  How do you deal with it?  Simple.  Don’t worry about it.  Don’t waste your energy on it.  The more you worry about it, the less positive energy you will have.

Rule #6 — Post a Sign That Says: NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED

Surround yourself with a positive support team.  These people will have a big influence on your life and whether it’s successful or not.  You want people around you who will INCREASE your energy not DRAIN your energy (energy vampires).  You have to be strong enough to let people know that negativity is not allowed.

Rule #7 — Enthusiasm Attracts More Passengers and Energizes Them During The Ride

Positive energy works.  It spreads one person at a time.  You need to be the CEO – Chief Energy Officer.  The CEOs are excited, positive, and optimistic.  They don’t let fear stop them.  When you are enthusiastic, people will want to get on your bus.  People notice it.  People feel it — energy and enthusiasm.  This is like a beacon of energy coming from your heart.  It’s real.  And when you are energized, others will be energized.  A positive culture will out perform a negative culture every time.

Rule #8 — Love Your Passengers

To tap into the power of your heart and lead with a positive, contagious energy, you must love your passengers.  You have to love your employees, your customers, and your family.  And, you have to share that love.  You have to let people know that you care about them…really care about them.  When you do this, you’ll get love back.

Let your people use their gifts, their strengths.  Allow them to do what they do best.  Bring out the best in others, and by doing this, it brings out the best in you.

Rule #9 — Drive with Purpose

Purpose is the ultimate fuel for your journey through life.  When you drive with purpose, you don’t get tired, bored, or burned out.  Find excitement in the mundane, the passion in the everyday, and the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Find your purpose and share it.  This is positive energy.

Rule #10 — Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride

Don’t focus on what stresses you.  That’s no fun.  Know that you are too blessed to be stressed.  Remember all of the things you are thankful for because this feeling of gratitude will fuel your performance everyday.  It is uplifting.  Live and work like you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Be optimistic.  Be positive.  Find Joy!



Everything happens for a reason and we don’t necessarily know why.  Life is a test.  Adversity helps us grow.  Negative events and negative people teach us what we don’t want so we can focus our energy on what we do want.  There will always be challenges and problems and we must face each challenge and problem with a positive outlook.  Learn from the past and don’t focus on the future — focus on the path.  Experience Joy in everything you do and everywhere you go.


On Friday, May 31, 2013, Ore City High School held its graduation ceremony for 43 seniors.  Prior to the ceremony, Art teacher Rita Clawson presented each senior with a key, a small token that was a symbol of the the main subject of her graduation speech.  No one knew she would be speaking at the graduation ceremony.  It wasn’t in the program, and I didn’t even tell our superintendent who has been prompting me each year to get a speaker.  After the salutatorian and the valedictorian gave their speeches, just prior to awarding the diplomas, I made the announcement that we had a surprise guest speaker …. Mrs. Clawson, the HS art teacher would be giving a speech.  (She told me earlier in the day that she had been practicing and it would be right at five minutes.  That was the stipulation … no more than five minutes.  That time limit really wasn’t set in stone: I just told her that because I knew it would be really hot and I didn’t want to use too much more time because I didn’t want parents and grandparents griping at me after the ceremony was over.  There’s always that one person who has something negative to say after graduation each year!  In any case, she took the limit seriously as she prepared her speech.)

Here is the speech given to the Class of 2013 by Rita Clawson, Art teacher at Ore City High School .  (You can follow fer on Twitter @RitaClawson, and follow her blog at

I gave you a small token before you marched out here (and you all look so good in those gowns).  This small token is a symbol of the main thing I’m going to be talking about tonight.

Keys, most of us have them.  Some have more than others.  Some keys just open stuff, lock things up, or just dangle from a cool little key chain waiting to be used.  Everyone, at least knows what keys are and can acknowledge that they all have some type of purpose.  Just like you — you have a purpose.

I know today that you are not totally sure what that purpose might be, but you are on your way — I guarantee that.  Whether you like it or not, after tonight, you will be on a path — just as you have been on a path up until this point.  Where this path takes you, no one REALLY knows. 

Ohhh … I KNOW.  Some of you KNOW exactly what you want to be, where you want to go, what kind of person you want to marry, and the list goes on.  But keep in mind, we are not promised tomorrow and even though it’s HIGHLY important to look to your future, today is a gift that you should enjoy — NOW!

This very night is one of those moments that you may think is all about you, and to a certain extent it is, but really — it’s for your parents, grandparents, family members, etc. who are here right now thinking how proud they are of you.  Those tears welling up in their eyes right now, because they can’t believe their baby is graduating  …  that is the main reason for tonight.  Not just so you can be honored — although that is important — but so those people can see you being honored.  (addressing the graduates … find those people in the crowd now and throw them a kiss or wave at them … appreciate them because they are so proud of you!)

Back to those keys … I’ve listed a few KEY points that you should never forget.  It’s kind of my KEY list on how to live a happier life.  You may be thinking “Why does this crazy art teacher think she can tell me how to live?”  I understand your point, (you are like 17 or 18 and I know, you know everything.  Your parents, I’m sure have heard that line) but let me just try to share these KEYS with you — and maybe you can take something out of this list that will assist you.  Even if it’s one little point that helps you be a happier 2013 graduate, I will have done something positive tonight.  And don’t forget, I’m older than you and I’ve done things in my life that have definitely not made me happy so I’m trying to give you a head start on the important KEYS that can only promote, support, and contribute to your future happiness.

  • I know I’m not a perfectly happy person all the time (who can be), but I absolutely strive to be as happy as I can be and if you need some cheering up, I’ll be the first one to try.  Everyone needs a cheerleader.  You should be that for others in your life.  This is KEY.  Be a big bright shiny smiley face to those around you.  You might get weird looks or even a few comments (believe me … it will happen), but that is what makes it even more worth it!  If you can be hated for your smile or having a great attitude — I’m willing to take that chance to help others feel better about life.  Be that someone for others in your life.
  • Another KEY … Don’t judge others.  This is so KEY.  You truly don’t know where they’ve been or what they are going through.  Don’t allow your quick-to-judge attitude or anything like that to get in the way of you being able to love others.  Liking them might be hard to do sometimes and you are not going to like everyone you come in contact with.  You already know that, but LOVE should never be a question.  You don’t have to like everything about someone to have love for them.  And I’m not  talking about couple love, or give-me-sugars love … I’m talking about genuine love for humans.  When you really truly figure that out … expect BRIGHTER, HAPPIER & SUNSHINIER SUNNY DAYS (even when it may be cloudy outside).
  • It is KEY to always be thankful for the present and always look ahead.  You can’t change the past so why dwell on it.  This is KEY!  Work daily on moving forward and away from things that get you down and that sometimes want to creep back up from the past.  Don’t let it.  Look ahead to the things that you CAN DO instead of anything you didn’t already do.  Leave the past in the past.
  • A KEY that you have probably heard me say before if you were in one of my classes or just in my classroom for a bit, and if you didn’t hear it, you could read it — it’s written on the wall right behind my desk:  IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK AT IT.  This saying has been a motto, slogan, mantra of mine for many years, which basically means that any situation, no matter how bad it may be, can be looked at in a different way.  There is always something good going on.  Sometimes you just gotta find it and sometimes you have to dig really deep to find it!  Keep looking — because it truly is all about how you look at it.
  • The last KEY I’m going to share with you tonight, to me, is the most important … Don’t hold grudges no matter what.  Grudges are heavy.  All they do is slow you down.  Without those ugly, nasty, heavy things, you will feel lighter and more able to travel through this life with ease.  Who doesn’t want a smooth path to travel?  Grudges make your way full of potholes and obstacles.  They cloud your mind and make your outlook dark.  WITHOUT them you will have more time to do the fun things you want to do because you aren’t wasting time thinking about some stupid grudge.  There’s nobody in this world worth holding a grudge against.  It doesn’t hurt them by you holding it, because most of the time they do not care.  There’s a quote that says:  Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.  Get it?  DO NOT waste your time on that.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!!!

Tonight, it’s important you treasure this moment you have with each other.  You hold the KEY to so many things, but most importantly you hold the KEY to your own happiness!  

I hope that some of these KEYS I talked about tonight help you open that door.

Again, I promise you, from an ole, crazy art teacher … IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK AT IT!!


As she concluded her speech, I looked around at the graduates sitting in front of me and I could see a few wiping tears from their eyes.  And at the end of the graduation ceremony, I heard the photographer tell some one that this speech made her cry.

Obviously this speech touched some of the ones in attendance.  Maybe these graduates will take at least one thing from Mrs. Clawson’s speech.  And hopefully someone in attendance will take something from it as well.


My heart goes out to the victims and their families from Boston.  I pray for quick recoveries and emotional healing as everyone tries to recover from this senseless tragedy.  We live in a world today where violence is everywhere … just look at the news as they report on the explosions at the Boston Marathon.  I understand that it’s their job; however, I know that there are positive stories intertwined within all of the negative stories.  I would hope that people can focus on these positives while at the same time not downplaying or forgetting what happened.

As I was coming to school this morning, I was thinking about how one person can do something bad and that is all that we talk about.  We forget (or ignore) all the good.  I am guilty of doing this.  I fail to recognize all the good that goes on at my school on a daily basis.  I really need to apologize for this.  I am fortunate to have a great faculty and staff and great students, but I don’t do enough for them to let them know how great I think they are.  I tend to focus on the small percentage that is the negative.  Every organization has its good and bad, and in my case, I tend to only focus on the bad.  Why do I do this?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that I need to change.  I need to recognize and publicize the good more.  I can’t ignore the bad, but I have to put the good first.

As we move forward from this tragedy in Boston, lets all try to do a little more good today that we did yesterday.  Lets all try to positively recognize more people today than we did yesterday.  Lets try to not focus on what’s wrong with something instead lets focus on what’s right.

Lets make today better than yesterday, and then tomorrow better than today. 


good not bad

Perception is Reality

Perception is Reality!  Even if it’s not correct.

If the perception people have of you is one of negativity, then that means you are negative.  For whatever reason, people perceive you as a negative person or perceive that you have a negative attitude.  It really doesn’t matter … perception is reality!

We always hear about being positive and avoiding the negative.  For some people it is easy.  For others, it’s almost impossible.  It really isn’t impossible, but it seems that way.

How can you change (or at least positively adjust) your negative attitude?

You must first look at yourself and recognize that there is a problem.  Look at your environment.  Who do you associate with mostly?  Are you a Lounge Lizard?  Are you the one who constantly bad-mouths everything?  Do you find yourself always looking for the bad and never seeing the good?

Are you the “Bad Apple” ? (One bad apple spoils the whole bunch!!)  That person, the Bad Apple, can affect the whole group or have a negative impact on the whole organization.  Negativity breeds negativity … just like success builds success.

Once you’ve identified yourself (or someone else!) as the Bad Apple, you can begin the process of changing your attitude / fixing the problem. You are making the choice to replace the negative with a positive.  Begin to look for the positives and the good in every situation.  It may be hard (especially at first) but you can do it.  Be the optimist not the pessimist!

It’s not easy to alleviate a negative attitude.  It won’t happen overnight.  It will take a conscious effort to be more positive.  It takes determination.  And you have to have patience.

Remember this quote from Winston Churchill —–

attitude is a little thing

Do you want to be perceived as negative or positive?  Do you want your organization to be perceived as negative or positive?

  • A positive outlook is a great thing to have!
  • A positive environment is a great thing to have!
  • A positive person is a great thing to be!

How is your outlook?  How is your environment?  How is your attitude?  Are you a positive person?  What is the perception people have of you?  Does it need to change?

Remember — Perception is Reality!

Spring Break

From the end of World War II until the 1980’s, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida was a notorious Spring Break destination for college students.  Actually, though, in 1935, the Colgate University men’s swimming team went to Ft. Lauderdale to practice and escape from the cold, winter weather of New York.   Then in 1960, the film, Where the Boys Are, made Ft. Lauderdale even more popular for Spring Break until the 1985 law that raised the minimum legal drinking age to 21.  This law inspired many underage college students to travel outside of the United States for Spring Break. (

Today many corporate sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Gillette, MTV, and the US Armed Forces cater to the college market and cities stand to make a lot of money from tourism over Spring Break.

But for most public school teachers, Spring Break means a lot more than sun, beaches, drinking, and partying.  It is a much-needed break from the STRESS,  BAD ATTITUDES, and from just being TIRED.  For many, it is a chance to catch up on housework, yard work, laundry, etc.  and just as a chance to do something else besides “school”.

Stressed out teachers

Is this how you felt before Spring Break?

Take this week and enjoy yourself.  RelaxRefresh … Rejuvenate.


Come back in a week FIRED UP and ready to make a difference in the lives of your students.