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Thursday, November 25, 2010

8 Principles for Being Thank-Full



As you think of your blessings, reflect upon the affect you can have upon others if you share, encourage, and use your God given talents to bless others. Today the spotlight is on some of you and eight principles for being Thank-full in your life.

 Life is like nothing else -- the more you give of your life - the more you receive. The more you share - the more you receive. So, be thank-full by sharing thanks.

Meet Heidi Chaves: Running Her Own Race and Inspiring Her Family to Run it Too

Chaves Family 5K
Heidi Chaves said hello at ISTE this summer and as she stared her story she inspired me and gave me purpose. 

Heidi started using the Couch 2 5K app after reading about it here and also shared it with her family.

Now, for Heidi's Letter:

"It was a honor to meet you at ISTE. Hope you will remember that we spoke about how you have been an inspiration to me not only with your boundless energy for student learning but also your CP25K in 2009. I organized our family and we had our very own 5K on July 31st near Honeoye, NY with 20 runners. I was the oldest participant and our youngest (age 11) was our winner. I wasn’t anywhere near the front but I’m pretty sure the second and third placers made sure he was the winner. It was a wonderful experience of young to old sharing planning, training and running. We used email, texting, a Google Spreadsheet, Robert Ullery’s podcasts and GPS tools. I guess you could call it project learning. Thanks for getting me off the couch. Hope you enjoy this picture. (I’m second from the right in the front row.)"
Then, when I replied about posting it she added:

"Me?! On your blog?! I'd be thrilled. I guess I'd like to add that the winning time was 23 minutes just so everyone knows we were "serious". And that since most of them agreed to do it just to support me,  I had tears in MY eyes when I saw all the yellow shirts stringing out down the road in front of me.

So happy that I could pay back some of that inspiration that you've given me.

Oh, and as I reread my original email, we also used digital cameras, jumpdrive, netbook and of course Facebook!"

This is such a story of how things happen nowadays. We share and learn and then another takes it and multiplies it far past what we can imagine.  Heidi deserves all of the credit for getting her family running but to know that in sharing - that it would just facilitate a beginning that means something. Look at all the family members who did this for her! She has a whole team of people encouraging her!

Go Heidi Go!! Go!

Thank-Full Principle #1 - Share.
Share with others generously and feel free to share your story -it may motivate others who identify with your struggle.


Thank-Full Principle #2 - Thank
Thank people when they've influenced you for positive change. Sometimes you're just the encouragement they need to keep sharing!

Thank-Full Principle #3 - Move.
Get outside and move your body physically. You'll feel better and the endorphins your body will release will make you feel better. It helps you to be more thank-full.



Meet Brad Wilson: Winner of the iPad
Brad Wilson (@dreambition) a teacher from Michigan was the winner of the VSP Visioncare Ipad Giveaway that we had back in October. He sent me these pictures of his class.  Because Brad took the time to enter a contest here on this blog - he is blessed with a new iPad and I'm blessed by these photos of him with it.


Brad sent me this kind email with pictures:

""I really want to thank the Cool Cat Teacher Blog and VSP Vision Care for teaming up on this contest. I have been reading the blog for almost 3 years now and your wisdom, experiences & links have enriched my own learning in so many ways. My classroom teaching practice has been shaped by you and many others in my PLN, and adding this new tool to the mix will continue to stretch the boundaries of what learning looks like.  The 4th grade students at Stewart Elementary in Stevensville, MI are thrilled to get their hands on an iPad and I am excited for them to perhaps be the biggest advocates for more technology-enriched learning opportunities in our community. THANK YOU!!!!

ps- My students are just beginning their blogging journeys and have posted some content from Glogster and Voicethread- they would love to get some feedback from a global audience!""


Brad didn't know this but part of me was wondering if the effort required to "run" a giveaway was worth it.  Did people think it detracted from my blog? Did the energy it took take away from other things. Should I do another give away?

Because of his letter, I've decided that I will do it again. If some of you can be blessed through it - then OK - let's go.

 (So, December 13-17 I'll be giving away a m90z computer from Lenovo.  
 It is a monstrous touch screen device perfect for schools and home. I LOVE IT!)

It is my prayer that enough encouragement and sharing happens here to give you something in that way. See the video of when he used the iPad in his classroom.

Thank-Full Principle #4: Tell Your Story.
We may look at trends and big numbers, however, it is the stories that motivate us. A number is a number - often faceless. A story is a human being. A person. Whether your story is about something you've found or someone who helped you find it, they are powerful.

Many teachers could care less what percentage of teachers are using wikis - but if they hear the story of one person who is using it successfully - that is often what changes everything.

Others First.
Some teachers would have taken this iPad home and hoarded it. Brad took it to school. He shared it with his students. He is receiving blessings and excitement as he innovates with his students. The easiest way to become unhappy is to be self-focused.

For example, Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1 on Twitter) has tweeted encouragement me to me as I run and struggle. There have been many days I wanted to quit but cybraryman1 wouldn't let me! He was there for me! He looked past himself and even past the persona of "cool cat teacher" to see a real person who has been struggling with getting healthy after 40. He influenced me to keep running and I can influence others as well.

Thank-Full Principle #5: Look Past Yourself
Focus on others to serve and encourage them if you want to be a happier and more thank-full person.

Brad asked if you'd comment on his kids' blogs. So, do it!

Salt and Pepper: The Mix that Makes Life Interesting
Most of you have salt and pepper on your Thanksgiving table. Two very different spices and yet they are together. Families are odd mixes of people (some say proof that God has a sense of humor) and it is often that odd mix of right and left brainers -- tall, short, loud, quiet, -- the salt and pepper that makes food taste better and life more interesting. These two teachers used a ton of different tools - one to motivate her family and the other to motivate his students. Some people look for ONE answer but in reality there are often many.

Thank-Full Principle #6: Appreciate Diversity.
Appreciate a diversity of people, tools, and methods to accomplish your goals. You'll find that often it is the diversity that helps you reach more people.

Heart for Change
The other thing that strikes me is the heart I see in these two educators. They each put their heart into what they are doing.  Your school can pay you to be in a seat - but only you can employ your own soul. Only you can harness the power of your heart for making your world a better place.

Thank-Full Principle #7: Harness Your Heart
Photo by Heather Garland
Harness Your Heart to improve your world, your classroom, your family. A heart harnessed for a purpose can break through the toughest, most impermeable ground of problems that seem too hard to plow under.


Play Until You Win
Persist in the things that are worth doing. One one more note, the iPad give away almost didn't happen.  Jennifer Kutz (Lewis PR Global), the organizer of the iPad Give away had quite a bit of persistence because of my crazy travel schedule in October. I love working with people like her who understand win-win scenarios but also know that sometimes people aren't ignoring you - they are just busy.

We were joking at the Fall Festival this year that if we want someone to win us a pie or cake at the pie and cake walk - just give it to one of the kids. That is because the kids use their tickets to PLAY UNTIL THEY WIN. (Proof: This year our three kids won 9 pies and cakes to Kip's and my 2!)

Adults reach a point where we give up. So many of us give up just before winning. What if Thomas Edison said he'd fail 98 times and then quit? We wouldn't have the light bulb. Persist in the things worth doing.

This blog is still here because I KEEP BLOGGING.

 Thank-full Principle #8 Persist.
If something is worth doing well it is worth doing poorly until you can do it well. Persistence breeds success. Never never quit as Winston Churchill said. When you persist and accomplish then you are truly thank-full as your life brims with blessings.


You are a blessing, my friends. Now, push back from the computer and go be thank-full!

P.S. Still wondering if anyone realizes why I picked "eight" as my number? (Little joke there.)

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