Education for the Body Mind Spirit and Soul….The Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend in Michigan!

October 7, 2014

Oprah
As an educator serving Detroit’s youth for 19 years, I’ve attended numerous amounts of workshops and seminars to prefect my craft. From curriculum building, to class room management, I’ve attended them all solely on the basis to help me achieve the desired results with my students. I’ve even went as far as self publishing two books and one e-book based upon today’s youth. I guess you can say that working with kids is my cup of tea.
The education that I received in order to become a teacher was beneficial. However, it could never compare to the education I received at the 2014 “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend.”

Upon arrival to the Palace of Auburns Hills in Michigan, I could feel the positive energy from every individual in the building. Men and women stood up swaying from left to right listening and singing the words of “Kool and the Gang’s Celebrate.” Iyanla Vanzant energetically walked around the perimeter of every seating section to get the crowd ready for Oprah’s appearance.

When Winfrey entered the stage, the immediate sounds of piercing screams began! Finally, after everyone had settled down, she started her magnificent weekend event off by saying, “thank you for being here tonight. You could’ve taken your money and spend it on anything else but you choose to be here with me despite of the fact that I am not singer.” Proceeding directly after her joke, “Lady O” touched upon some very serious subject matters that in the words of Iyanla Vanzant would require us to all to put our big girl panties on.

Addressing the importance of energy and the power behind our words. Everyone was provided a “techno bracelet” that lit up every-time emphasis were placed upon the words she and her special guest wanted us to think deeply about. There were moments that touched everyone so deeply that thousands of people laughed, cried, and screamed together in unison.

World renowned authors and speakers such as Mark Nepo, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, and Iyanla Vanzant brought the house down literally and spiritually. What stood out with me the most this one special weekend of September 2014 was the simple sentence provided inside of the “Oprah’s the Life you Want Weekend” booklets. Written by Oprah herself the sentence stated the following, “Pay attention to the whispers. Thanks to this weekend, I will do exactly that and then some. I am so glad that I got an opportunity to participate in this life changing experience. I will treasure this one moment in time for the rest of my life. In just this one empowering weekend, I learned so much more than any school text book could’ve ever taught me.

Gail Perry Mason Provides a Vital Piece of Education to Detroit’s Youth

August 1, 2014

Gail and I 2014

Education is the most important accomplishment that any youngster will accomplish in their lifetime. Traditionally, reading, arithmetic, and social studies are what’s normally instructed in today’s class. Aware of this known fact, Financial Guru and Detroit Native Gail Perry Mason, decided to add the missing piece to the educational puzzle.

Nineteen years ago, she created the “Money Matters for Youth” camp series for Detroit’s youngsters. Annually, eager kids ranging from elementary through high school range receive a full week of Financial Literacy. Through various seminars, field based related trips, and hands on activities, Mason makes it her mission to ensure that the Detroit Youth receive a bountiful amount of knowledge as it relates to the value of a dollar.

Aware of the fact that the average cost of college is roughly around twenty-thousand dollars a year, school aged children who attend this annual camp get a jump start on preparation for college funding, and strategies on how to make their dollars work correctly for them. Parents residing within the south-east region of Michigan, if you missed the opportunity to get your children enrolled this year, I encourage you to get your kids involved in the “Money Matters for Youth” camp series in 2015.

Parents get Your Youngsters to Reading This Summer Now

July 10, 2014

adra and three books

Wild everyone. It looks like we are just about to head towards the midpoint of July. With saying that, I want to encourage parents over the summer to make sure their youngsters continue reading throughout the entirety of the season.

During the standard school year, the majority of what kids read is mandated. A plus to summer time is that youngsters have more flexibility in literary selections. Parents, this is the time of the year to really make reading fun for your youngsters. Tie a theme into their book selections. Schedule some read aloud times together. Allow them the opportunity to upload e-books and audio books on the internet. There are a lot of free e-books available on the internet just waiting to be read.

Allow them the chance to pick books of their interest. Make reading entertaining. Try dressing as the main characters within the storyline. Yes parents, these crazy tactics work for tweens as well. Remember reading just 30 minutes per day can increase fluency and comprehension levels. Parents what are you waiting for? Get your children involved with some great reads before the season once again comes to an end.

God Took his Rainbow Dr. Maya Angelou to the Clouds.

June 1, 2014

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En route taking my class on a field trip just this past Wednesday, I received some very heart breaking news. Trying to keep my emotions together in front of my students, I could hardly believe what I had just heard. Marguerite Annie Johnson; known to the world as Maya Angelou had passed away at the age of 86.

Turning my head discreetly to wipe the tears from my eyes during the bus ride, I instantly smiled due to one of my personal historical moments in time. In August of 2013, Dr. Angelou served as a motivational speaker for the teachers employed with the Detroit Public School District. Applauding upon her arrival, she singed to us the song titled, “God put a Rainbow in the Clouds.” Her speech indeed encouraged us to start the school year off on the right track.

Any teacher this day feeling like a “nobody” definitely felt proud about their profession after her speech. Educators feeling weary, overworked, or defeated after hearing her talk to us left the Detroit Renaissance Center feeling optimistic and full of hope. Just the sound of her voice had the power to calm any storm. The meaning and message behind her powerful words could definitely make the sun come out and shine once again.

This day in August was indeed for me and many others a life changing moment. Although she is no longer with us, her accomplishments, poetry, amazing deeds, and guiding light will remain with us forever. On the twenty-eighth day of May this year of 2014, God took his rainbow to the clouds and she will be so greatly missed on this planet.

Adviser Annie Fox Provides Educators a Major tip for Reducing Anger Issues in Students

May 18, 2014

Annie Fox the Teen Expert

For most educators residing in North America, the 2014 school year is about to end. Often, this time of the year brings about transformation and not so good changes with students. For some reason or another, the upward fluctuation of their anxiety levels towards the end of the school year result to higher incidences of both physical and verbal confrontations.

Around this time of year educators begin to ask questions such as, “What in the world is going on?” Due to students acting out, it can also make the teacher ponder on what to do to assist with remedying this problem. Just this past Thursday on my radio segment of The Cooks and Books Show, I had the privilege of speaking with trusted online adviser for teens Author Annie Fox. Despite of her making me jealous due to providing the beautiful weather forecast in California, I gained a tremendous amount of insight on the issue of “Student Anger.”

From the upbringing of a student in regards to their normalcy, to the overwhelming incidences of students exhibiting inappropriate behavior, the valid points that Fox addressed hit the nail directly with the hammer. Agreeing that today’s youth should have the opportunity to address their issues and concerns or be trained appropriately to do so, what stuck out the most during the twenty-two minute interview with her was the one simple suggestion she provided on breathing. Her reasoning behind the suggested tip statistically states that taking five minutes or more per day to breathe prior to starting your day results to one reacting in a calmer fashion.

Guiding me briefly on the practice of breathing, and relaxation during the segment resulted to me having an “Aha Moment.” Perhaps allowing students to stand up and breathe for a few minutes daily prior to starting the school day off in the classroom may be exactly what they all need in order to have a productive day. I myself do plan on implementing the practice tomorrow morning with my youngsters. Although I hated to see our interview come to an end, I definitely plan on interviewing her in the nearer future. Fox’s latest book, Teaching Kids to be Good People may be found on her website at http://www.anniefox.com

When the Student Becomes the Teacher

April 26, 2014

Teen Author Nkiyasi Helm

Hello everyone. Can you believe that the month of April is just about over? My only regret is that the temperatures in Michigan don’t seem to be cooperating with the actual season. Spring break for most educators is about to come to a close within this region. Although vacation time is just about over, I must admit that I the educator was enlighten by one magnificent young lady and student over the break.

Currently serving as a host for the Cooks & Books Show on Urban Nation Radio located in Detroit, I had the privilege of interviewing Nkiyasi Helm. At just the tender age of thirteen, this young lady has written ten books, illustrates her own book covers, and has formulated her own publishing company. Conversing with this young lady for approximately a solid twenty five minutes, Nkiyasi addressed every question in a sound and very professional manner. What I love about the spirit of this young lady is that she is wise beyond her years. As she explained her lifelong goals and mission as both an author and teenager writing for the cause of our youth today, I instantly reversed roles and became her student.

Every book written by Nkiyasi Helm sends a world-wide message of love as well as provides a teachable life lesson. Be on the lookout for my review of her book titled, “Bully A Bully With Love” on http://www.bookreviewsbyadra.blogspot.com To find out more about this dynamic young lady, log on to http://www.writenbykids.com

Bed Bugs…the Educator’s Latest Pest Concern

April 6, 2014

download (1)  Bed Bug

 

As educators, we climb over one mountain top only to rigorously prepare ourselves to endure another.  A while back, a major concern for some educators was the head lice epidemic within the classroom setting.  Today, another wingless parasitic has arrived to overshadow the one we previously dreaded. The insect I’m referring to is none other than the “Bed bug.”  Currently at the top of many educators “Nightmares List”, I decided to compile a “test your knowledge on the bed bug epidemic list” as it pertains to students within the school setting.   Never attempting to undermine the intellectual ability of anyone, I solely provided this information to both increase the educational awareness of the matter while at the same time, put the educators mind at ease.

Statement One: A student identified with bed bugs should be immediately suspended from school until further notice.

Although some may agree, initially, the appropriate way to handle it is to have the student discretely removed from the classroom so that he or she may be examined by the appropriate professionals selected to do so.  A letter should also be sent home informing the parents or guardians of what was identified on the student and their possessions.  Suspension should only be implemented in the event the problem is not rectified.

Statement Two:  If a student has been found within the school setting with a bedbug on either their clothes, or personal belongings, this in-fact proves that the bed bugs came from their place of residency.

The assumption is inaccurate. Bedbugs are known for jumping around.  Although a bed bug may have been identified on one student, it’s very possible that they are not the root of the source.  Bed bugs like to move quickly from one place to another.  For example, “Student A’s” house is not infected.  Her parents however, allowed her to spend the night at “Student B’s” house for the weekend.  “Student B’s” house on the other hand has an infestation problem. The following Monday at school, a bed bug is identified on “Student A’s” clothing and her items.

Statement Three: These pests are known to be found within lower disadvantaged schools and communities.

This statement presented is false.  Status quo has nothing to do with how this specific type of bug selects its prey. These active creatures will invade any residency, or community. The bed bug simply thrives on opportunities to hitchhike from one location to the next.

Statement Four: Students that wear dirty clothes who face hygiene challenges are most likely the ones to attract the bed bug.

The statement is false. Filth and hygiene do not play a role in attracting the bed bug.

Statement Five: Maintaining a clean and uncluttered classroom will keep the bed bug from invading your learning environment.

The statement is false.  A clean classroom however, can assist with the identifying process.

Educators, keep in mind that most schools now have a bed bug policy in place. To further your knowledge more about the matter, consult with your school’s administrator.

School Suspension…When Enough is Enough

March 2, 2014

Hello Educators, parents and students.   I hope everyone is having a terrific Sunday.  The month of March is finally upon us.  I just wish that the weather complimented this third month of the New Year.  Today I want to talk about throwing the towel in as it relates to suspending a child.   I per say have never been a fan of it.  Suspending a student in my opinion unfortunately means this youngster will miss out on the learning process.   Missing out on the learning process can lead to decline of that youngster’s academic growth.

I regrettably inform everyone that I had to put this action recently into place.   Did I feel good about it?  Absolutely not.  My honest and sincere desire is to see all of my students come to class daily to receive what they need.   In order to do that, class room management is a must.  One irate child should not be able to interfere with the growth and academic progress of other students.  This being the case several weeks ago, I simply had to refer this student to administration.

Pushed to my limit, I did however implement the suggested steps listed below to prevent this situation from occurring.

Forewarn the student.  Talk to the student directly about what’s acceptable and what’s not.  As a consequence take ten minutes of either their recess or lunch time for a first time offense.

Always inform the parents of the situation. Send a letter home.  I am definitely an advocate for calling home.  State to the parent the inappropriate behaviors taking place in the classroom.  Yes…sometimes we have to call home more than once however, that’s okay.

Assign an in-house school consequence.  Have that student wipe down tables in the cafeteria.  Perhaps he or she can sweep the hallways.  Strongly pinpoint to the student that the continued behavior is going lead to sometime at home.

Recommend the student for suspension.  This in my opinion should be the last result however sometimes, it has to be done. Submit the paper work to the office so that the administrators can determine how many days this student needs off.  Again, I am not a big fan of having kids put out of school however, when you’ve done your best as an educator, sometimes a kid simply needs a little time off.

Advice for the Little Darling Requiring Just a Little More Attention.

February 4, 2014

                                                                               Student and teacher picture for Feb 3rd 13 Blog

Wild everyone…can you believe it’s already February!  Some of us educators nationally wept the benefits of “snow days” just shortly after the 2013 Christmas Break. Sorry…absolutely no complaints this way people.Teaching in the middle school setting for some time, my reasoning behind it was due to the independence levels of most youngsters ranging from the ages of 11-13.  Well as it turns out, there are some who still require a little more attention.   No matter how many times you review the assignment, one or several will somehow find a way to keep you from doing your other educational duties during the time fragment of independent work time.  In other words, they will come up with anything just to converse with the teacher.  Coming up with creative ways to address their concerns, the list below is recommended for those students needing just a little extra attention.

Clarify and repeat.   I know a lot of you teachers are probably saying, “Wild that’s a no brainer!” Select the student’s that thrive off of attention to repeat the directions.   This should be done because it places the responsibility back in the hands of the “Talkie’s” In addition, they must also understand that during this specific time frame they are not to bother you or anyone else.

Provide a card.   Teachers place a number on a card and hand it to your “Talkie’s.”  For example, if I place a four on the card and hand it to John, the agreement is that John will only have four times to ask educational related questions.  John will keep this in mind knowing that he will only be allowed four times that day to address his most vital concerns.

Provide one on one time for your youngsters.  Educators, we have that God-given discernment that allows us to decipher when a kid just wants to talk versus a kid really needing you to lend an ear. In this case provide a time allotment for one on one talk’s.  This should not require a whole lot of time.   Provide a five-minute allotment during lunch time or after school.  I promise you in the long run your students will appreciate it.

How to Address the Student Withdrawing From Attention/ Hyperactivity Issues Within the Learning Environment

January 19, 2014

 

 

Nationally, today’s classroom setting consist of a population of children who lack the concentration to focus due to Attention Deficit Issues.   Usually controlled by medications prescribed by physicians; the dilemma worsens within the learning environment when the student displays signs of withdrawal due to not taking the appropriated medication.  Any teacher who’s experienced this knows how draining this situation can be for both student and instructor.   Below are some suggestions on how to deal or cope with the matter.

1. Ask the student.  In private manner or fashion, ask the student did they forget or suddenly stop taking their prescribed medication.  Remember, kids are honest and mostly likely will tell the truth. The conversation should take place in private to ensure that the student is not embarrassed by other class mates.

2. Schedule a mandated meeting with parents.  Don’t allow the uncontrollable actions of a child with these issues to intervene with the learning process of other students.  Contact those parents as soon as possible. Inform them of how important it is for their child to have what they need daily to make it through the school day. Explain the “big picture” to the parent or guardian of the child.    Sometimes, it’s just the case of the parent moving too fast and simply forgetting.  Usually when forgotten, parents make a serious effort to get back up to the school to give their child their prescribed medications that very day.

3. Send the child to the office.  As educators, there is only so much were allowed to do. If the situation occurs frequently, the student should be sent to the office.   If the child cannot maintain nor condone themselves due to not having what they need, send them to the office until the matter is handled and addressed.  If for some reason the student has run out of their required supply, find out from the parent when the next prescription will be filled and always remember to document.


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